This article was originally written as a response to a comment attached to an article at exchristian.net. But it says several things that have been rolling around in my head for a while that I would probably eventually want to say here anyway, so I’ve edited it slightly and am posting it here. Unlike my previous posts regarding Christianity, which were written with family and friends in mind, this was originally written for an audience of primarily former Christians; it’s somewhat more direct in tone.
Leaving a life of Christian faith is extremely difficult. Especially if you were raised in it. Those fortunate enough to have converted to it, lack the indoctrination-from-birth aspect that tends to make deconversion very difficult. I’ve noticed that, among those whose parents raised them in The Faith (Dawkins’ “Christian Children”), the vast majority appear to come from families who are abusive, or who are otherwise obvious in the inconsistency between their practices and their preaching.
I’m frankly amazed that I was able to free myself from it: I come from literally the most loving, caring, and nurturing family I know. Their faith really worked, as far as consistency between their beliefs and their actions went, and as far as having a truly happy and productive life goes: we had that. My Dad, a Calvary Chapel pastor for over a quarter-century, is by far the wisest person I know, in interpersonal relationships, emotional and mental stability, and balanced perspectives (despite a very evangelical, Bible-literalist faith).
To use these things as proof of Christ’s veracity is to essentially argue by “confirming the subsequent” (a logical fallacy); but in a day when happy, close-knit and functional families are an extreme rarity, it surely speaks loudly as a testimony. And it certainly makes believing in Jesus pretty darn easy.
While anyone versed in logic and debate knows that the burden of proof falls upon the one arguing for an extension to the established and mutually agreed-upon facts (thus demanding that belief in God be proved beyond doubt); human nature invariably requires that the burden of proof falls on the one who wishes to change another’s current point of view (demanding proof that Christianity is false).
Those for whom the experience of Christianity has been a largely positive experience have a very deep emotional attachment to it. Possibly as strong as the bond between a parent and a child (the concept of a Father God would strengthen this). Couple this with the conviction that God has clearly and unmistakably intervened in and guided your life (due chiefly to strong human biases to remember hits and forget misses, to recognize strong patterns from random noise, and, yes, some brainwashing), and it becomes practically impossible to change your mind.
The only reason I’m not currently a Christian is a combination of sheer luck (of a sort that some might term Fate or Providence), an overwhelming and abiding love of knowledge and truth (to a degree that I am willing to accept knowing nothing [my current state], over being certain of what may be false [my previous state]), and an accidental but firm self-grounding in logical argument.