I just got back from a five-day Christian training seminar-series thing with my college's chapter of a nationwide Christian organization (why I ended up here, I'm not completely sure. Maybe there are too many cute females in our chapter, I don't know). There were five "tracks" to choose from and I chose one called "Encountering Jesus" where we went through a "manuscript" (sans chapter, verse, and paragraph divisions) of Mark and tried to "throw out all our preconceived notions" and look at it with "fresh eyes" or something (while using the NRSV or some version, of course).
Anyway, inevitably, we eventually got to the part in the book (in Mark 3) that most Christians refer to as "the part about the unpardonable sin". I feared that I had committed this sin for many years of my life, so of course I had to say something when it was brought up. I tried, really hard, to make people see why I had feared for so long, but was continually fed pat answers from everyone. Eventually our leader came up with the answer I'd heard so many times before, that "if you're worried about it, you haven't committed it" and "it's a state of continual rejection of Jesus" or something, when to me its obvious that that is not what is being said if taken at face value.
Anyway, after that session, I talked to our leader to reassure her that I wasn't worried about that anymore and had found an answer that satisfied me about a year ago. This led to me telling her about my belief in Christian Universalism, which she immediately dubbed a "heresy" since she'd heard of it before. Anyway, I never got a chance to show her why I had been reassured, because it disagreed with her view, and she basically told me I should see a doctor for anxiety problems (which may or may not be a good idea). Also, she has an anxiety problem herself, so its not like she was just calling me crazy, just looking out for me.
I've only told a few people about my belief, trying to keep it under the radar to avoid strife within the group, but apparently that was kind of unavoidable since I found out people knew about it that I had never told. Also, one of our staff members (who I had also never told) asked me if I was involved in the Unitarian Universalist church, which was fun (I love being misrepresented). But yeah, basically everyone I've talked to (except for one really sweet girl in particular I talked to a month or two ago, who was somewhat open) is not really open to the possibility of changing their beliefs from what is commonly accepted. Lately I've been thinking that one of the biggest barriers to questioning one's faith is being afraid of what other's think and the possibility of losing one's status in their Christian "society" (some of the people I've talked to are newly elected to leadership positions in our organization). I think this mainly because I'm starting to think I need to leave this organization due to these differences and will likely lose friends over it.
I've really been trying to be understanding, since I realize it's a gradual process to change something so huge within one's belief system, but it's hard when you just want to find one person who you can stand with, instead of fighting alone constantly (sorry if I'm getting a little emo).
I think it's funny that I get the same rhetorical bullcrap and leading questions from Christians that they complain about getting from non-believers all the time. The people in my group I've talked to really haven't jumped down my throat or been condemning, but it's quite frustrating when I love these people and wish they were willing to find the answers for themselves, instead of always taking in what's force-fed them from the pulpit. Sometimes I wish I could just believe like they do again, just for the sake of community and "fellowship", but then I remember how messed up I was over that, and can't understand why no one else appears to even think about it.
What it boils down to for them is that apparently I don't have enough "faith", and I really don't have a clue how to debate that, except to say that, "No, YOU'RE the one with not enough faith" which is pointless. I still love each of these people, just don't understand how they think, I guess.