Saturday, February 25, 2012

My background- the cliff notes

I was a Christian for 20 years.  Or more accurately, I was a child in a Christian family for about 8 years, then a believing practicing Christian for 12.  I went to Bible study, I went to church, I joined Campus Crusade for Christ (of my own volition) when I got to college, and even rose to a leadership position within the group.  I was, for all intents and purposes, an all-star Christian.

During my third year at college, I walked away from God.  This is not the "walked away" that Christians talk about- there was no slow slide of amoral behavior, no gradual move towards reliance on myself instead of God, and most assuredly no sin that I wanted to do so badly that I was willing to give God up (an idea that's been suggested to me several time, to my general amusement).  I made a rational, reasoned decision that I simply did not believe in the Gospel of Christianity.  Moreover, I did not believe in God at all.  In particular, my Christian experience did not live up to the claims that Christianity makes about itself.  I felt no Holy Spirit indwelling in me.  I felt no passion for the lost.  I saw these other Christians claiming supernatural direction ("I feel led to ___") and supernatural experience, and I realized that I'd never seen or felt or experienced any of that.  What I had was a conviction based on what I'd been told, not what I'd experienced, and not what made sense.  And on the basis of this, I walked away from Christianity.

My journey the last three years has led me to atheism.  I don't claim to know a lot of answers with certainty- indeed, anyone claiming anything with absolute certainty has a fundamental misunderstanding of the word "certain"- merely that the explanations given by atheism are more compelling than the explanations given by Christianity.

Lest the reader think this a flippant decision, it is worth pointing out that making this choice cost me the most important things in my life.  Firstly, it cost me a piece of my identity.  I had been a Christian for my whole life, and didn't know who I was without it.  Going from believing that an all-powerful God has your back to believing that you're all alone in this tragically random world is a jolt to the psyche.

Second, it cost me my friend group.  For the most part, they were actually quite good about being non-judgemental, but, as Clifford Williams puts it, "A group of like-minded people cannot easily tolerate members who are perceived to challenge the group’s shared beliefs, or who even honestly and innocently ask questions about those beliefs".  This is not particular to Christians (try mentioning you are entertaining the thought of Creationism to a group of scientists), and not something done by my friends with any intentionality, malicious or otherwise.  After all, I had jumped ship on the most important thing in their lives- what exactly did we have in common now?

But most importantly, It cost me the girl I loved.  I know.  It's trite, and it's overused, but it's true.  She was, and still is, a Christian, and 2 Corinthians 6:14 implores the Christian to not be "unequally yoked" with a non-believer.

My goal in this blog is to chronicle my experiences trying to find the God that I lost years ago.  I hope that it will be a good read for anyone going through something similar. Above all, I hope that it will be honest, open, and truthful, both in argument and in conclusion.  I will reserve judgement on the reader, whether Christian or Atheist, and simply say that if you are sure of yourself, you are father along this path than I.  And if you are not sure of yourself, good for you for being willing to question.

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