First off, for my first post, I'd like to discuss something gritty and realistic: the persecution of what I believe. See, my life as a Christian hasn't just been bumpy and complicated, it's been a real doozy of a roller coaster ride in life. If it weren't for how hard Jesus had promised life would be (He hadn't included any vague terms that it would tricky nor left room for possibility, He spoke of it as happening now and grit-your-teeth-and-bear-it tricky), I would have decided to do the same as David Kinnaman said in his thought-provoking (yet really good) book, unChristian, and that is "I actually made the official decision to quit Christianity three or four times." One may read that and think "If you thought about it, why not do it on the first try?" Because, thought it's not in the Belief Contract (may as well act like one with how everyone acts like it's a short-term belief system), having the Faith doesn't include quitting as an option, that'd be more of a liability.
But what kinds of things would have Christians quit? Back in the Early Church days, they would have gotten death threats (no, wait- promises) to renounce their faith or die... or maybe watch their family members get killed. Today, it's as simple as calling someone "uneducated", "stupid", or even a taboo word in our culture- "retarded." Why call anyone that?
For one, our American education system sees any kind of faith as superstition. And superstition has no place in well-learned people nor places.
For another, believe it or not, it's mentioned in the Bible, but differently. If an atheist were to say "Christians are stupid, the Bible says so," only technically would be they be right- the Bible says SOME Christians are "uneducated", which, in American slang, can equal stupid, etc. The Apostle Paul announced to the Early Chruch, after his conversion from Judaism to the Way (as it was called originally) that he did know some were uneducated, some were rich, everyone from different regions, and he was okay with that (keep in mind, Paul, originally Saul, was raised as an extremely well-taught Jewish Pharisee, no room for any thought about any other religion nor people who weren't Jewish, no matter what, and he was sharply educated). Above all, every single person had a talent, given by YHWH, to be used for His glory. All that, spoken by a well-educated, very eloquent man with a dark religious past (just as the Catholic Church had assassins during the Inquisition, the Synagogue had professional hitmen like Saul back then, killing of Way followers).
Now, what's that got to do with me? Funny thing is... though I wa raised by a religiously devout mother who tried to raise me on the Bible from childhood on, I was also raised in a divorced family, where my father was a religious skeptic, so I was essentially left on my own to decide what I wanted to believe. And I did believe. I believed in paranoia, paranormal stuff, and other things that, in the eyes of the Traditional church, would make no sense in view of believing in the Bible, yet I didn't know much about the Bible from the start, not even the part of Paul telling the crowd what they were like yet encouraging them to use their talent. Not until after I read a statement from someone that "...Christians are supposed to be stupid!" I told that person that I was in college, and colleges don't accept stupid people, not even Clown College. Since then, I've been learning many interesting, many disturbing, many beautiful mysteries about my faith. To this day, things have never been the same way people expect me to see it. Life is just too bizarre and personal, too full of uniqueness and complexities to let a ruining faith of anti-belief ruin my spiritual life. Am I simple? Maybe, but that's just because I don't know everything, yet I'm willing to learn.