I Filled my God-Shaped Hole with Spaghetti

Church this week was a test.  It was a test of my ability to keep my mouth shut and to keep my butt planted firmly in the seat.  I wanted to get up and walk out.

The atmosphere felt different. Not different in a good way but not really in a bad way just different.  I am sure that it wasn’t just because they had a lot more of the florescent lights on or because the music was incredibly somber this week.  For me it was because it is not the place for me.  The people are still wonderfully nice.  Multiple people introduced themselves and said welcome.  People from BIble study were happy to see me and made sure to tell me so.

All the nice people in the world can’t make you believe when you don’t.

The talk was based around this scripture

“From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him” John 6:66

They only wanted Jesus to fill their bellies and not their hearts. When Jesus was no longer offering bread to satisfy their physical needs but only their spiritual needs they turned away from him and left. They were only in it for the free dinner. The minister said that people have a “God-shaped hole in their heart” and only Jesus can fill it.  That people who don’t have Jesus in their lives do strange things because they are looking to fill that hole.  Maybe they do drugs, maybe they worship things that have inexplicably fallen from the sky, join gangs, or maybe they just fill that hole with hate and disbelief.  The premise was if you found Jesus then you wouldn’t need those other things because God would be filling the hole in your heart.

There was more discussion that when you don’t follow Jesus and you don’t know him then he does not know you.  When you die and your soul arrives in Heaven he will claim to not know you and I guess off to Hell you go.  It was never explicitly said “You will go to hell for not believing” but the bible verses that were used and the talk that was given kept implying that was the case.  The people who are “fans” and who go to church and follow some rules but do not truly follow Christ would also be told by Jesus that he did not know them.

I cannot wrap my mind around the idea of a merciful God and a loving Christ that would not listen to reasons or even give you a second chance.  If you thought you were doing the right thing but it really wasn’t (aka being a fan and not a completely committed follower) then that has no bearing?  If you don’t have faith to believe in this outrageous story about a man and a woman created from his rib, and a snake and a virgin birth and a dead man coming to life and floating up into the clouds above where an invisible man rules over everything then you don’t get a chance to apologize later for using the free-will that this God gave you to be able to not believe then you are just out of luck?  There is no gray area.

“Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Luke 11:23

“Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”  Matthew 12:32

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17 thoughts on “I Filled my God-Shaped Hole with Spaghetti

  1. I really appreciate your honesty in this post. Faith isn’t always easy, but faith increases with time. The Bible even talks about how the things of God are foolish to those that don’t believe. I think that’s why it’s easy for say me to believe in something than you. To you, it’s all foolish, but to me it’s as real as you and me. Does that make sense? I think God gives second chances and third and fourth etc. But game over when you die. God gave you the opportunity to know him. I personally don’t believe Jesus’ point of coming was to save us from Hell…Yes awesome perk, but he came to give us relationship with God. Things chance when you see salvation as relationship and not fire insurance.

  2. “If you don’t have faith to believe in this outrageous story about a man and a woman created from his rib, and a snake and a virgin birth and a dead man coming to life and floating up into the clouds above where an invisible man rules over everything then you don’t get a chance to apologize later for using the free-will that this God gave you to be able to not believe then you are just out of luck?”

    Well… yes. You can be the best person in the world – never harming anyone, helping those in need, giving tirelessly and unselfishly of yourself your entire life – but unless you believe the right things, you’ll be consigned to eternal torture (an infinite punishment for a finite transgression).

    Conversely, if you believe the right things and ask God to forgive you for the wrongs you’ve committed, it doesn’t matter how horrible of a person you are – a thief, a rapist, a murderer, a jaywalker – your soul is effortlessly wiped clean of the stain of every loathsome thing you’ve ever done in your life, and after you die, you get to exist forever in a magical wonderland with all the loved ones you’ve ever lost.

    For God is a just god, I’m told – though I can’t figure out for the life of me how that is justice.

  3. Go watch the broadcast from my church from yesterday. Oddly enough we had tbe same sort of sermon but our pastor approached it a lot differently. It’s ttue that those who reject God do not receive the kingdom of heaven but people can choose on their deathbed to receive him and still go to heaven. The level of rewards given to you in heaven is based on bow much of your life you’ve lived for Christ. Those who choose to basically “save their soul” at the last minute suffer the consequence in that way. The only unforgivable sin is to have felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit and to still reject him forever.

    • That’s exactly the loophole that the Mormons believe too. Also that means if you lie, cheat, steal, murder, etc all you have to do at the last minute is ask Christ to be your saviour and you’ll be forgiven. Therefore Hitler will be in Heaven. Seems like a bad design. Which honestly to me means even more that Man created God because men, at that time, would not have been able to imagine the atrocities of generations to come.

  4. I read a story once about a wise king who presided over a wicked kingdom. In order to address the evil within the hearts of his subjects, he enacted into law a system wherein anyone caught committing a crime would have both of their eyes put out. When, one day, a young man who had broken the law was brought before the king for judgement, the king was dismayed to see that the young criminal was his own son. Now the king had to make a choice. A choice between his love as a father and his justice as a ruler. If it were just a matter of him being a loving father, he could have used his authority to have his son’s sins overlooked, but the king was also a just ruler and he could not simply let the transgression go without punishment. So the wise king spoke and said; “you have broken the law and the punishment for this is the forfeiture of two eyes. One eye shall be yours and one eye shall be mine.” . Both of them had one eye put out and from that day on whenever his subjects would see he and his son walking together, they were reminded of both the kings justice and his love.

    The most common Greek word used in the new testament to mean “just” literally means “equal”. God’s justice seeks to make us all equal. That justice stems not from power or malice, but from God’s own nature of being infinity holy – infinitely good. His nature simply cannot tolerate sin in any form. His ball. His game. His rules. We can play or we can go home and sit on the couch, but he tells us straight out:

    Romans 6:23(NIV)
    23 For the wages of sin is death…

    this refers not only to physical death but spiritual death as well – eternal separation from our loving God, and if it were left like this we’d all be in hot water because no one, not a single one of us, could ever hope to live our lives without sit, but look at the second part of the verse:

    Romans 6:23(NIV)
    23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord

    Just like the wise king, he is also a loving father. He wants us to be with him. He wants to protect us. He wants us to choose to love him. So he pays the ransom for our sin himself. Y’all check this out now:

    Luke 23 (NIV)

    32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
    38 There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. 39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

    The thief on the cross is likely to have led what most would consider a perfectly sinful life, but in the last moments of his miserable existence, he came to Jesus in faith and is told that he will be allowed into God’s kingdom. I think often about this. Jesus, like the king in the story, is accepting punishment for something that he hasn’t done. Not a smack on the ass kind of punishment, nailed to a cross dying and forsaken by his father kind of punishment. When this man, this thief, this scum bag asks Jesus for a favor, it is the single worst moment of his life. His body is racked with pain. For the first time in his entire life he is alone, no longer in communion with the Father. He’s been falsely accused, tortured, ridiculed, nailed to a cross and hangs there, dying in the hot sun. In the midst of all this, here is this dirt bag, a man who rightly deserves the punishment that Jesus is enduring comes to him. Shows him just the faintest spark of faith; “Jesus remember me”. How would you respond?

    I know how I would; “Common BoBo! I’m a little busy here! What with the dying for your sins and the agony and the torment and my father turning his back on me and these freakin thorns sticking into my head! Just let me die in peace!” It’s not what Jesus does.

    Jesus hears this man. Recognizes his faith. Even now, in the single worst moment of his existence on this earth, in agony, his sinless life’s blood draining from his earthly body and covered in sour wine and blood and sweat and dirt and spit and tears. His heart shows compassion. He reaches out to this man. Witnesses to him. Forgives him. “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” How bad ass is that?

    You see dy-anne, I like to think that Jesus wasn’t just speaking to the thief on the cross that day. He was speaking to me. He was speaking to you, to everyone reading this, to every single person who has ever walked this earth. He’s saying “Here! I did this for you! You can have it! It’s yours if you want it! Follow me! I’ll take you there!”

    I think what’s important to point out to the non-Christians reading this is that Christianity is not about controlling behavior. It’s not about doing enough good to earn our way into heaven. It’s about having a relationship with Jesus.

    It’s not:

    Good Works –> Salvation

    or even:

    Faith + Good Works –> Salvation

    it is:

    Faith –> Salvation + Good Works

    Our lifetimes on earth are nothing but second chances and third chances and millionth chances, but when the game’s over, it’s time for everybody to go home. We don’t get to say from the couch; “oh I would have played if only…” or “this or that is why the rules weren’t fair” He’s God! He made the heavens and the earth! You have to think that he knows what he’s doing! He doesn’t really need our input! When we move out of his universe and get our own place, we can make our own rules, but until then, so long as he’s the one paying the light bill, it’s his way or the highway Buster! 🙂

    Forgive me for going on and on, but your post actually contains quite a bit, that we as Christians see as stumbling blocks to those coming to faith. Thank you again for this format and for allowing me to write here. I for one, can see his work in many ways here and I’m truly finding this a blessing.

  5. ◉Hell exist because there is Evil, and men have free will. When I read the news stories of men and women who torture children I am so glad there is a place to contain evil for eternity. The agnostics and atheist I have had the pleasure to meet and love will admit that they perceive a spirit of evil in the world. Some will admit to being able to instinctively “feel” good or evil in certain people or circumstances. That being said.. there is good and evil. Notice in Joshua the reference to the Lord- and to other little “g” gods. .. they are spirits. Spirits do not die. That being said there must be a “place” to go after our physical bodies die.

    Josh 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

    QUESTION: From what you have seen of real Evil ..( I am talking about gross evil to the fullest extent of its course- the kind that makes you scared at night.) Are you glad it is contained and can not have full reign?

    QUESTION: If you were in harm and someone stood by and did not choose to help you – would that be a sin? Can sin/evil be not what you are doing but a “Lack” of doing something? Could you imagine that there is a task that God needs you to do ( in the spirit) that if you do not do it – your passivity alone would be considered evil?
    _______________________________________________________________
    ◉ There are only TWO spiritual sides – there are no GRAY sides. The true Christian lives a spiritual life in prayer and intent to serve God .Those who do not live their lives in the “spiritual battle” for Christ’s love here on earth are choosing in a passive aggressive way to serve His enemy.

    Romans 6: 16-Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

    17But God be thanked,… that ye were the servants of sin, …but ye have obeyed from the heart ❤ that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

    18Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

    _____________________________________________________________
    ✞There is no one in any history book that has actually DIED for his servants. Except Jesus. I do not live “for him” in order to get to heaven, He lived for me so I could go to heaven. In the mean time we are in a spiritual war, drugs, and cutting are stealing the lives of our teenagers. They sit in darkness wishing someone would come an tell them there is a power greater than the evil that enticed them in to hell on earth. , There are two powers at play…no gray ones.
    _____________________________________________________________
    Dy-Anne . I wish you peace. I really do, I think it would help you make your choice if you would read Romans 6.. the whole chapter- and then Romans 8. Tell yourself it is the word of God and ask yourself what you think of it. I would LOVE to hear back on this blog if you have read it,

  6. You might want to check out the true testimony of Nicky Cruz. He was a gang leader who was bent on destruction until his life drastically changed. His story is on youtube.

  7. “I cannot wrap my mind around the idea of a merciful God and a loving Christ that would not listen to reasons or even give you a second chance. If you thought you were doing the right thing but it really wasn’t (aka being a fan and not a completely committed follower) then that has no bearing? If you don’t have faith to believe in this outrageous story about a man and a woman created from his rib, and a snake and a virgin birth and a dead man coming to life and floating up into the clouds above where an invisible man rules over everything then you don’t get a chance to apologize later for using the free-will that this God gave you to be able to not believe then you are just out of luck?”

    Dy-Anne, these are hard questions. God, like any parent, has set up boundaries for us: receive his grace during our lives because he wants us in heaven with him and we can only get there by his grace. You are right that there is no gray area.

    I am not sure that you would invest in a faith where there wasn’t a black and white. In my opinion, the LDS church has lots of gray, lots of chances (didn’t get to a high enough heaven while you were alive? No problem, we can baptize you up after your death with a believer proxy!). You clearly didn’t like that and left that church. By being an atheist you have chose ‘black or white’ over the ‘gray’ of agnosticism.

    Which are you more offended by: the fact that God would make a black/white or that there isn’t more gray?

    • I’m offended that I’m expected to believe this at all. As a parent I would forgive my kids no matter and I wouldn’t subject them to horrors even if they said they hated me and disowned me. They could stop talking to me now and wait until I was on my deathbed to
      Come to me and I would forgive them so not to cause them pain.

      • Of course you’d forgive your kids. Because you are a loving and attentive parent who wants her kids to grow up in to responsible and nurturing people.

        If one of your kids, at the ages they are, now spilled a whole jug of milk at home, you’d clean it up and you’d forgive them, right? But who absorbs the cost of a jug of milk that now can’t be used? Who has to pay to buy another one? The forgiveness doesn’t replace the milk. So you replace the milk, at the additional cost to you. This is what the grace-transaction is like. I can be forgiven, but who pays for the cost of making right my mistakes? Jesus pays the cost.

      • That’s an interesting analogy, so follow that through. Even in the Bible, God is clear that people can accept Him, even on their deathbed… (Ref.: Matt 20: 1-16). But the key there in what you said is “…deathbed to come to me and I would forgive them so as not to cause them pain.” If they don’t come to you they would never know you still love them, that you forgive them.

        IDK, that’s just what popped into my head when I read your response. I’m no theologian. But I do really appreciate your honesty and your sincere attempts in this endeavor. I know this has to be very taxing mentally and emotionally.

        Thanks.

  8. Dy-Anne,

    Thank you for continuing to share. In my opinion, you are courageous – for both tackling this experiment / experience in the first place and then for the heartfelt blogs that you post.

    Many good points were made by other readers of your blog.

    As I try to evaluate the situation, I’m still thinking (as I mentioned earlier) that perhaps before you can accept what the God that you don’t currently believe in has told us, you must find a way to believe in him to begin with … and *then* try to sort out what he has said.

    If I didn’t believe in a divine creator as an overall, general concept, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t accept what the Bible says about all this stuff either. To me, there has to be a reason to even *attempt* to understand and believe what the Bible says – and that’s because, in the first place, there *is* a God who was capable of creating the universe and, *because* he is that all-powerful, he is also capable of creating a way to save us after we mess up (yes, through free will).

    Truthfully, even after we begin to believe, every single question won’t be answered. But the major ones will. In the end, that’s all that matters – regardless of the fact that we may still be curious about certain things that are not explained.

    When I try to look at life and the universe as an atheist does (and I have tried many times before I began reading your blog and have read some of their viewpoints), it seems even more difficult to fathom than what Christians believe. In your last post, you did list some pretty magical-sounding things. To me, however, what I’ve read about evolution, etc. sounds just as miraculous as creationism – except without someone or something to make it happen. What I’m saying is pretty simplistic, I know, but sometimes breaking things down to the bare minimum provides clarity.

    I don’t know what all you have studied in your past that led you to your current conclusion. From what you have posted thus far, it seems that you probably did not take any of it lightly. I’m still wondering if a study of scientific principles from a good apologetics viewpoint might be helpful – i.e., trying to find a way to check out what the universe itself shows us about how it is organized, and actually doing this through science, allowing for the fact that what apologetics says *might* be true. What I, personally, see is that intelligent design is written all over the place. From scientific evidence, yes, I do believe that the Big Bang happened; I just believe that it originated and occurred through God. You may have already studied all of this; I don’t know.

    I’ll try not to mention this apologetics/science topic again as your blog continues b/c I have already brought it up at least once before. It just seems an extremely vital part of the discussion.

    Of course, at some point, after belief in God comes in and then belief in the Bible (perhaps through a study of prophesy, etc.), this whole thing then becomes a faith-centered undertaking. So it’s not all about proof and scientific principles. It’s also about “the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.”

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