Losing my religion

The Top Banker

Heiko is a funds management investment director.

I always considered myself a Christian, but to me it was about ‘doing good things’, occasionally going to church, and following my own private religion I had created (a very comfortable way of being religious as you never have a problem following it). The Ten Commandments were definitely negotiable.

I also had an answer to Jesus Christ: He was an exceptionally smart philosopher. He was not the Son of God and there was nothing non-human about Him. He definitely did not do miracles and was not resurrected from the dead. This was just made up by the guys who wrote the Bible, or easily explained by science or magic (as I learned from the Discovery Channel). Simple, explainable, uncontroversial and most importantly, easy to live with.

Having worked in or around the City for the last 14 years, I was one of many who lost work following the recession, though I managed to hang on until 2011. Most unhappily, this coincided with a personal tragedy. At the same time, my wife, who grew up going to church, suggested we join a Christianity Explored session at a church in the City. I agreed – very reluctantly – to come along. I couldn’t say I was doing anything else!

Despite my reluctance, Christianity Explored turned out to be very interesting as lots of it focused on history, which always interested me. The group consisted of open-minded people looking into Christianity to see what it is all about. As the course went on, I was more and more convinced that Jesus was, and is, the Son of God.

There was a lot of historical evidence about who wrote the Bible, and when, which all made sense, but the one thing I kept coming back to was that I could not explain why anybody would make up the Bible. It is very rare, if not non-existent, that anybody does anything in the City, or anywhere, without gaining. But I simply could not see how those who wrote the Bible would gain from inventing these stories. It did not make their lives easier or more comfortable. On the contrary, most of the Apostles died for their faith.

I finally had to give in: Jesus is the Son of God and what is written in the Bible is the truth! My carefully created ‘own religion’ had to go.

As if unemployment and personal bereavement weren’t difficult enough to deal with, I now had to review and change most of my life. The consequences of believing that Jesus is the Son of God are not dealt with quickly. Though my wife has the same faith, my friends, wider family, and work colleagues have very different beliefs.

My ‘views of the world’ had to be revised and rethought. Science and religion became a real topic, but things like regular lunchtime Bible talks really helped me think all this through.

You might say it was just tough times (and my wife’s insistence) that made me explore Christianity, but belief isn’t ‘a crutch for the weak’. Firstly, following Jesus is certainly not as easy as following the religion I had created for myself. And even now, when my previous worries have receded, I still really enjoy being a Christian.

But most importantly, I now see that Jesus is relevant to everyone, whether life is going well or not; once you start to understand Jesus, you know you need forgiveness from God – as does each one of us.

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