I've recently started doing bible study with a good friend (a devoted Christian). I started at first out of curiosity about what Christianity really is about. However, as the study went on (half way through Luke, beginning of Romans, and bits and pits elsewhere), I started having more and more questions despite some of my initial questions being answered.
A bit of background about myself: I grew up learning religion is often not a good thing. All my close family members are atheists or just in general don't care much about religion. I would consider myself an atheist, but my friend said I'm agnostic.
I knew very little about Christianity (Jesus and Heaven that's all...) before I started bible study. Now I know a little bit more but of course still very far away from the full picture. However, I'm already filled with so many questions that it's almost painful to go about with my daily life without having them answered. (My friend has done a great job in answering a lot of my questions such as what is trinity, what is heaven, how Jesus has paid for our sins, difference between faith and religion, etc. But even he doesn't have the answers to all my questions...)
In general, I've so far come to really enjoy reading the bible. I've come to really like Jesus as a person (living a life like Jesus's is very admirable in any era). Emotionally, I agree with a lot of what Jesus said. But I can't bring myself to really follow his teaching. There is a part of me that really wants to become a Christian, but I feel like I have no right to be one if I can't (not willing to) even follow what Jesus commands.
Jesus has said to love my enemies and give them all I have. I agree with this, emotionally. Vengeance will only lead to more harm. However, if you really follow this and do not stand up to the evil people who harm you, won't that just give them even more chance to take advantage of you? It's indeed noble that you will do what the evil people won't do (love the enemies). And I really wish I had the courage, determination, and faith to follow it. But as of now, I really cannot bring myself to it.
I've always been taught that one should never do another harm, but in the case of being harmed by another, one should strike back as hard as possible. While I've never really fully agreed with this view, I do take a similar stance: never harm, but if harmed, always seek for justice. Not that I believe this is the right thing to do, but simply the most practical thing to do. I'm really afraid to put myself fully in God and follow Jesus's teaching. I'm afraid others will take advantage of me. Perhaps, I'm just selfish.
Jesus also said not to judge others for only the God can judge us at the end of the time. How should I approach this saying? I agree that none of us is perfect, and very often we accuse others of faults without knowing the full picture. However, does that mean we should never judge others? What if a person commits crimes? Do we condemn him or do we withhold our judgment? What if this person had down great injustice to my family or myself?
I admire the way Jesus lived and wish I had the courage, determination, and faith to follow his teaching. I want to believe in God and I want to believe in Jesus. But as of now, I can't bring myself to. I wonder if my atheist view is simply too deeply rooted in me. Is Christianity really for me?
Any help/guidance is appreciated.
Thanks in advance,