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). Continue reading
I had always known about them. They were always there, lurking in the corners of Scripture, waiting for discovery, waiting to become catalysts of ignorant doubt; of the questionings of God and His Word.
Problem passages. Those passages that, at first, and even second glance, seemed to pose real, spiritual problems: doctrinal difficulties, or contradictions of known facts about the world, or even of other passages in scripture! But always, there’s an answer, for those willing to look below “just the surface;” for those with the mustard-seed faith to trust at least enough to ask God: “Lord, show me the answers I’m not seeing.” By responding with the humility to seek God and have faith that there is more to these seeming difficulties than first meets the eye, I allow God to open His vaults of wisdom, to grant me a mere kernel of insight, of greater knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of His Word. Rather than becoming jaded and disillusioned, I will instead become a little stronger, a little more secure, in the knowledge that God’s Word is perfect. God’s Word never fails. Continue reading
Why are so many Evangelical Christians not content simply to believe what they believe, and let others believe as they will, but instead feel compelled to share and spread their beliefs to all others? Why is it such an important goal to Christians that everyone they encounter be urged to pray the “sinner’s prayer” and accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior? Why are they so driven?
The answer to these questions are pretty clear to most folks who are or have been Evangelical Christians, but can be somewhat puzzling to others.
The key, of course, is that Evangelical Christians believe absolutely in the words of the Bible, that the Bible is an absolute authority on all things, and that (at least in its original version) it contains no falsehood. Consider what your own behavior would be if you found yourself in the following scenario:
Suppose that someone were to prove absolutely to you, one-hundred-percent and beyond any reasonable doubt, that there is a God, that this God is all-knowing and all-powerful, that he is incapable of error or deception, and that every word written in the Bible was placed there by this all-knowing and inerrant Being, for our edification and instruction.
Now, given this, what would you do if you discovered that the Bible states, very simply, that everyone who does not believe in and dedicate their lives to Jesus Christ will, after their physical death, continue to exist, but be made to endure unimaginably severe pain and torture for eternity without end? Continue reading
Okay. Something weightier.
I was raised to believe that the Bible is the Word of God, and is inerrant, infallible. I’d run across difficult passages, but there was always at least a plausible explanation to make it believable.
So about a year ago, I’m reading along in Luke, and I come across the following passage: Continue reading