Meet the Author
Lee Harmon lives in Lino Lakes, Minnesota, and blogs at The Dubious Disciple. He grew up in Oregon, in a strict Christian home surrounded by fundamental Bible beliefs. He is the author of Revelation: The Way It Happened and John’s Gospel: The Way It Happened. Here he relates his spiritual journey in his own words:
I will always appreciate my upbringing as a Christian. Christianity remains my heritage. I embrace it, and the standards and morals I learned as a child have served me well. I sincerely hope I have passed on to my children the same Christian traits my parents showed to me.
However, most Christians learn to draw a line somewhere–a line which separates the saved from the damned. The people on one side of the line are alive, the others dead. Now, this doctrine may be true on one level. I have observed that, on average, Christians (not to the exclusion of adherents to other belief systems equally capable of enhancing life with added meaning) live happier, healthier, more well-balanced and more satisfied lives. Yet, beneath this utopia lie the many horrible atrocities of the Christian God, the God we read of in the Old Testament. How can these be reconciled? Then along came the teachings of holy books such as Revelation and Matthew, detailing how the saved will frolic in heaven while the damned suffer horrific torment forever in hell. Not a mere temporary punishment for sins, mind you, this lasts for ever and ever! Good Christians learn to turn their thoughts, and dwell on the positive, doing their best to ignore this evil, but a time arrived for me when I no longer could do this. As a strong Bible believer, I entered a period, maybe ten years ago, of severe depression. I understood clearly from the scriptures that “few there be that are saved,” and I would shuffle down the street, staring into the eyes of people I knew would suffer the vengeance of God forever. That man parking his car with the bumper sticker that says,The meek will inherit the earth–after we’re through with it. Off to the hot place. The woman walking toward me pushing a baby stroller and teetering from a few too many beers. The fires of hell for her, certainly. Probably for the baby, too. Life became a cruel joke, eternity much worse.
My Christian sect discouraged me from reading any religious literature except the Bible. Only the Bible contained the Holy Word of God. But the time came when I had to know the truth. Was God an evil tyrant, happily condemning most of his creation to hell? I purchased books (carefully hiding them from my family at first) and began my own fevered study into the scriptures, accumulating bookshelves of Christian and other religious material, biblical archaeology, historical research, cosmology, eschatology, and studies of life after death. For years, I engulfed my life with this quest, and my library can hardly contain my research, of which I devoured every word. Who or what is God, really? A childish promoter of rape, genocide, and eternal hellfire? Or the God of Jesus, filling us with love, kindness, and compassion?
To make a long story short, my understanding of the “infallibility of the scriptures” evolved, and I began to discover human traits within the writers of the Bible. However inspired, man’s motives, opinions, and limited understanding began to flicker through. Strangely, my appreciation for the Bible grew even more! What a miraculous creation, chronicling the growing up of the Hebrew nation and their search for God! I look forward to sharing this discovery with you.
May your heart be gladdened, and may you embrace the mystery of whatever truly happens after this life.