'Out of the wilderness'

I was raised in a Christian home. My mother made certain that my brother and sister and I attended church and Sunday School every week. I had a deep love for church, but even as a youngster I had many questions concerning God and felt I was finding few answers.

Our religion believed man was born into sin and that God sat in judgment of man. If we were good, we went to heaven. If we were bad, we would go to hell and suffer damnation forever. I was taught that God allows all of the suffering and sickness and sin in the world. These things were His will, I was told, even if we did not understand why they happened. 

This just did not make sense to me. I could not understand how God could ever send me to hell if He loved me, nor could I understand how a loving God would allow His sons and daughters to suffer. One Sunday, when I was about 13, my family and I were in church. The preacher was once again telling us about man’s sinful nature. Suddenly, I just knew it wasn’t true, and I got up and walked out of the service. 

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