7 Reasons why Christians de-convert

June 29, 2008 at 11:29 am 68 comments

Kieran Bennett recently completed his series on why Christians de-convert. To answer this question, he considered 94 of the 117 de-conversion stories he read on one of the largest archives of de-conversion stories on the internet.

Here is what he found:

  1. Dissatisfaction with the answers to simple questions proffered by the religion was the most common reason cited for de-conversion amongst the sample (14.89%).
  2. The realisation that religious dogma contradicted observable reality was the second most an equally common reason for de-conversion cited within the sample (also at 14.89%).
  3. 12.76% of the de-converted Christians in the sample spoke about realising the contradictions within the dogma itself.
  4. For 10.63% of people in the sample, reading the bible was significant in ending their faith.
  5. Only 8.51% of people in the sample attributed their de-conversion to the hypocrisy of the church.
  6. In another 8.51% of the de-conversion stories, people tried to speak to god and they now credit god’s lack of an answer for their de-conversion
  7. And finally, stumbling across the realisation that many religions were just like theirs caused deep doubts for 8.5% of the sample he read.

Here are the links to the series (not in the same order as above):

NOTE: Feel free to copy this post to your personal blog if you wish to link to the series.

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Why d-C? – Where are you Jesus? Forum Feature: What triggered investigating my doubts

68 Comments Add your own

  • 1. LeoPardus  |  June 29, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Interesting. Looking at the list I see that reason 6 was the main thing that started my departure. Reasons 5 and 3 helped me along. By now I see all 7 reasons as strong and valid points indicating the falsity of the Christian faith.
    In slightly adapted form they would also serve for evidence against most any other religion.

  • 2. Obi  |  June 29, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Two, three, four and seven are the only valid reasons in my opinion. Six is rather irrelevant to me, because the validity of a position shouldn’t be based upon the lives of those that follow it, even if it’s a belief system that incorporates teachings on moral guidance. Every human makes mistakes.

    However, seven is one of the reasons I wish more people would see. No extant religion is unique — each incorporates themes and elements from multiple different religions that preceded it, meaning that it isn’t some sort of “divine revelation”. In the case of Christianity, this is more readily apparent when you study the contemporary religions of it’s time, such as Mithraism and other pagan religions (Easter and Chirstmas are pagan holidays, Eostre and Saturnalia, respectively).

    I think once someone steps back from their religious “bubble” and realizes that religion and it’s accompanying myths and legends are thingsthat mankind has been imagining up since it’s very beginning, and that their religion is no more special than any other, that path to de-conversion is an easier one to walk down.

  • 3. orDover  |  June 29, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    Number 2 was the one that most contributed to my de-conversion, but in a slightly different way. I found out, via my own research, that my teachers at the Christian school I attended had outright lied to me about several things, most of them pertaining to evolution and science. I didn’t want to belong to a religion that had to stoop to lying in the face of scientific discoveries. The sad thing is how many Christians buy into these lies hook-line-and-sinker. They never question them, because they come from sources of authority (teachers, pastors, parents). That sort of lack of critical thinking, the sheep mentality, is another thing that I couldn’t stand once I saw it for what it really was.

  • 4. The de-Convert  |  June 29, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    orDover,

    I remember finding myself repeating “facts” that I had never personally validated.

    Paul

  • 5. LeoPardus  |  June 29, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    Obi:

    You don’t think that god’s lack of any answer is a good/valid reason?

    And about hypocrisy, see my old post (in the archives) about “Unchanged lives”. There’s copy/paste in that article of something Karen once posted that sums up well why hypocrisy, moral failure, etc, are quite valid objections to the Christian faith in particular.

  • 6. LeoPardus  |  June 29, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    The de-Convert:

    I remember finding myself repeating “facts” that I had never personally validated.

    We all do that though. We have to sometimes. The trick IMO is to be fairly sure of the reliability of your source. THAT is where most religious people fail utterly. — You should have seen/heard what happened when I once tried to show a youth pastor that Ken Hovind was a fraud.

  • 7. orDover  |  June 29, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    One of the greatest moments in my life came this past semester, when I was taking an into to Archeology course. The professor was really into critical thinking and critical analysis of the media. She had us watch youtube videos on Radiocarbon dating and find one we thought was factually true, and one we thought was completely bullshit. Then in class she showed the two most cited videos. The one that was the most popular bullshit video was Kent Hovind spreading his lies. The professor then opened up the class to discussion and my wonderful peers proceeded to rip Hovind to shreds. It was so wonderful to be in that environment, and such a change from my Christian high school.

  • 8. Obi  |  June 29, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    LeoPardus said, “You don’t think that god’s lack of any answer is a good/valid reason?

    And about hypocrisy, see my old post (in the archives) about “Unchanged lives”. There’s copy/paste in that article of something Karen once posted that sums up well why hypocrisy, moral failure, etc, are quite valid objections to the Christian faith in particular.”

    Hmm well, I do, but I simply prefer to argue points that are objective — that everyone can see. Contradictions within the holy book/dogma are more easy to point out to people than telling them a story about how you prayed to God but weren’t answered, because that leads to (1) You weren’t praying right. (2) You weren’t listening right. (3) You never believed in the first place (4) God isn’t our “personal butler” (even though Jesus himself emphasizes the power of prayer, ie. mustard seeds and mountains) (5) Et cetera, et cetera.

    One can deny fairly easily the effectiveness of prayer and push it out of their minds, but seeing first-hand the contradictions within their own belief systems is bound to be much more to chew on.

  • 9. robert  |  June 29, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    How about being sick of the guilt and fear Christianity fosters?

  • 10. Chicken Girl  |  June 29, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    For me, #6 was absolutely the reason my faith started to crumble — I sometimes say it’s the reason my indoctrination “never took” in the first place. It fell apart before it was even firmly established. #2 and #4 took care of any remaining remnants.

  • 11. BillyWarhol  |  June 30, 2008 at 1:38 am

    Yes Good Riddance to Bush + his Brainwashed Flock + Religion!!

    Hypocrites!!

    ;)) Peace*

  • 12. TheNerd  |  June 30, 2008 at 11:29 am

    *The Nerd makes a copy-pastry on her blog from this post.*

    Excellent summary! I’m a sucker for numbers/statistics. I think anyone who has an interest in the human experience and religions should read the series.

  • 13. Should an atheist proselytize? « de-conversion  |  June 30, 2008 at 11:48 am

    [...] 30, 2008 When I started the series, Why do Christians de-convert?, I said I was analysing de-conversion stories with an eye towards answering a rather simple [...]

  • 14. LeoPardus  |  June 30, 2008 at 11:48 am

    A copy-pastry ?? Is that what you do with a post you think is delicious? :)

  • 15. TheNerd  |  June 30, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    LP – It’s like when you have a really good piece of pie, and you pass it around saying “you have to try this!”, but with blogs instead. :)

  • 16. Ted Goas  |  July 1, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    Ahh, mark me down for #2. I had to go to Grad School to do-convert from Christianity.

    I can see kinda what orDover means by being lied to by religious teachers. However many of these teachers believe these ideas really are true. They just haven’t looked at another point of view.

    It’s not so much sheep mentality, but rather tunnel vision and surrounding oneself with like-minded thinkers.

  • 17. Doris Tracey  |  July 1, 2008 at 1:24 pm

    Maybe someone can write the seven habits of de-converted people.

  • 18. clive smit  |  July 5, 2008 at 7:08 am

    Hey there. Thanks for the post. It is thought provoking. I suppose that at the outset I should tell you that I am a Pastor in a pentecostal church in NZ. I thought it would be interesting to discuss some of th points cited above.
    (Please note… it no way at all am I trying to be antagonistic… I’m just interested in your thoughts – believe it or not)

    Let me start out by stating that life has a mysterious element to it… there are some things that we just won’t figure out. Now thats not a cop-out… just a fact.

    Secondly, I noticed the continual reference to dogma rather than Scripture.
    Man’s teachings can always be wrong… we can misinterpret or even intentionally read in a way to suit our ends (even if that is on a subconscious level). But Scripture should be our foundation and not man’s teachings.
    Jesus constantly rebuked the religious leaders for so called following the ‘letter’ of the law but missing its spirit / heart.

    I suppose the problem with reading the Scriptures is that its not like reading some comic book or enjoyable novel. It takes hard work to understand the historical and cultural context. Not to mention the differences in the times of law in the Old testament and the new time (dispensation of grace). There is also the hard work in figuring out the symbolism etc.
    Einstein said that thinking is hard work… and thats why so few do it. I believe its the same with the Bible… its hard work to truly get stuck in and understand it in context. That could be why so few Christians and non-Christians just don’t go there.

    And as for Christianity being the same as other religions… which other religion deals with the concepts of sin, of God Himself condescending and becoming a human to take the world’s sin upon Himself and offer Grace to all of mankind?

    Would you share with me your experiences that would lead you to agree with the above 7 observations from Kieran Bennett?
    Eg. Where did you see the Bible contradict itself?

    Finally, I hope my questions have come across in the spirit of humility that they were intended. If not then please forgive me for that.

  • 19. Obi  |  July 5, 2008 at 11:57 am

    clive smit —

    Welcome, mate. Christianity (like all other modern religions) is formed upon the basis of myths, legends, and teachings from other mythologies, and is therefore similar to quite a few other religions. For example, I’m sure you’d acknowledge the foundation that Christianity has in the teachings of Judaism. Not only that, but both of them stem from the Zoroastrian religion, the first monotheistic faith.

    Here’s an excerpt from ReligionsTolerance.com, “He lived in Persia, modern day Iran. Legends say that his birth was predicted and that attempts were made by the forces of evil to kill him as a child. He preached a monotheism in a land which followed an aboriginal polytheistic religion. He was attacked for his teaching, but finally won the support of the king. Zoroastrianism became the state religion of various Persian empires, until the 7th Century CE.

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/zoroastr.htm

    Notice the similarities? Both had their births predicted, both had leaders who attempted to kill them as children, both taught monotheistic faiths, and both were persecuted for their teachings.

    There are also parts of Christianity that were taken from other ancient religions, such as the virgin bith of Jesus, which is common to the Egyptian god Osiris, as well as the Greek god Dionysus (as well as Mithra). Osiris was the son of the sun god Ra, so he was literally the light of the world as well as the “son of God” incarnated as a man. He was also the god of reincarnation, and I’m sure you can see the connection there.

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa2.htm

    I just dealt with a small part of what you wrote, but I thought it was a necessary part.

  • 20. Quester  |  July 6, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    Howdy, Clive (your middle name isn’t Staples, is it?), thanks for dropping by. I have a few responses for your comments:

    Let me start out by stating that life has a mysterious element to it… there are some things that we just won’t figure out. Now thats not a cop-out… just a fact.

    By “we” do you mean each of us as individuals or humanity as a whole? No individual one of us may ever be capable of knowing everything, but I do not see why we, as a species, lack the potential to “figure out” everything, eventually. In this way, I see your statement as neither a cop-out nor a fact. It’s just a guess.

    Secondly, I noticed the continual reference to dogma rather than Scripture.

    ((snip))

    I suppose the problem with reading the Scriptures is that its not like reading some comic book or enjoyable novel. It takes hard work to understand the historical and cultural context.

    All right, you’ve made me curious here. You say we should not trust man’s teachings, but the Bible. Yet, you also say that we should not expect the Bible to be easily understood, but subject it to critical exegesis. This hard work of interpreting biblical symbolism and understanding historical context relies on man’s teachings, and is also how much of Christian dogma has been derived over the years. So you seem to be telling us that we should not trust dogma created during years of careful biblical study, but only our own study based on the same principles. Why should our interpretations be ranked as more sound than the scholars and leaders who crafted what you dismiss as “man’s teachings”?

    But Scripture should be our foundation and not man’s teachings.

    Why? What reason do we have to treat scripture as any sort of foundation or authority?

    Einstein said that thinking is hard work… and thats why so few do it. I believe its the same with the Bible… its hard work to truly get stuck in and understand it in context. That could be why so few Christians and non-Christians just don’t go there.

    Perhaps, but you should be aware that those few are not the majority represented here. I have taken graduate level courses in Biblical exegetics, Church history, theology, ecclesiology, soteriology, and several related fields, and I am one of the less-educated and least-well-read contributors on this blog. Some here were trained and worked as pastors, apologists, evangelists, and theologians. To assume that the problems we find in the Biblical text are due more to our laziness than our concerted effort, study and strong desire to submit ourselves to God’s will for our lives will not get you far.

    And as for Christianity being the same as other religions… which other religion deals with the concepts of sin, of God Himself condescending and becoming a human to take the world’s sin upon Himself and offer Grace to all of mankind?

    Obi dealt with this point in his comment, but I ask you, in turn, which religions do not instruct us how to behave, promise us rewards if we obey and punishments if we do not, and assign prominence to a few who supposedly understand these requirements in greater depth than the rest of us?

    Would you share with me your experiences that would lead you to agree with the above 7 observations from Kieran Bennett?
    Eg. Where did you see the Bible contradict itself?

    Well, Kieran was telling us about information he found from another site. Reasons many of us de-converted can be found by clicking here.

    That said, to answer your question:

    1. Dissatisfaction with the answers to simple questions.

    I lack satisfactory answers to the following questions:

    a. Who is God?
    b. Where is God?
    c. Does God care about individual humans, humanity as a whole, or neither?
    d. Why has God created us/me?
    e. What does God want of us/me?
    f. Why is there death?
    g. What exactly did Jesus accomplish/what is the gospel message?
    hi. What do we need to do to be saved?
    hii. If you don’t do it, what happens?
    i. What/who do we need to be saved from?
    j. Why do we need to be saved?
    k. How does God intend for us to use the Bible?
    l. Why is faith considered a virtue?
    m. How do we know (any of the above)?
    n. Why do so many Christians disagree with each other on the answers to the above questions?
    o. Why would God communicate in a manner open to so many contradictory interpretations?
    p. If God is all-powerful and loves us, why are there hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and disease?
    q. When will God fulfil His promise of Isaiah 65:20?
    r. Why does Matthew’s gospel consider Isaiah 7 a prophecy of Christ?
    s. Why does Adam’s choice affect us more effectively than Christ’s?
    ti. If salvation is not universal, why isn’t it?
    tii. If salvation is universal, in what way does it concern us?
    u. Christ repeatedly instructed his followers to heal people. Why can’t we?
    v. What happened to Jesus in his hometown (Mark 6: 1-6)? Does God need our faith to be able to act?
    w. How long must I seek and not find?

    2. The realisation that religious dogma contradicted observable reality

    Realizing that stories such as the Creation and the Flood were likely metaphorical made it hard to see stories of any miracles as factual.

    3. realising the contradictions within the dogma itself.

    Jesus fulfilled the law, but did not abolish it, so we should follow some parts, sort of? (In other words, why prohibit both slavery and homosexual marriages when allowing the former has more scriptural support than denying the latter?)

    4. reading the bible was significant in ending their faith.

    The Hebrew Testament prophecies of Jesus that have nothing to do with Jesus, the irreconcilable differences in the death and resurrection stories, the contrary claims of resistible and irresistible grace, the lack of a scriptural claim that the Christian Testament should hold any authority, and the horrible limiting of a supposedly unlimited God, etc, etc.

    5. the hypocrisy of the church.

    Not an issue for me.

    6. tried to speak to god and they now credit god’s lack of an answer for their de-conversion

    Over ten years of trying to submit to God’s will and only receiving vague and contradictory responses through scripture and people.

    7. And finally, stumbling across the realisation that many religions were just like theirs

    Not an issue for me.

    I hope this helps, Clive!

  • 21. clive smit  |  July 7, 2008 at 8:10 am

    Kia Ora (be well) Quester. (No, I’m Clive Smit… not Staples)
    I must say that I have never quite had such a thorough response like that before! I do thank you for your time and effort.

    By “we” do you mean each of us as individuals or humanity as a whole? No individual one of us may ever be capable of knowing everything, but I do not see why we, as a species, lack the potential to “figure out” everything, eventually. In this way, I see your statement as neither a cop-out nor a fact. It’s just a guess.

    I will try to answer your questions as thoroughly as I can.
    (PS: I absolutely don’t claim to have all the answers…
    PPS: I believe that God welcomes our questions)

    Yes, by ‘we’ I am referring to humanity as a whole.
    Pro 25:2 ESV
    (2) It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.
    While Scripture does commend us to search things out, to question and to seek to discover… has there ever been a time in history when mankind has figured it all out? Will there ever be a time? There are many events that occur that we just don’t have answers for. So my statement is not a guess… it just is.

    All right, you’ve made me curious here. You say we should not trust man’s teachings, but the Bible.

    What I meant here was that there is a lot of dogma out there that is not based on Scripture, but rather on the authority of ‘teachers / religious leaders’. Even well intentioned additions.
    Eg. In some church circles it is seen as a sin to drink alcohol. This is certainly not based in Scripture… it is well intentioned but it is not based on Scripture.
    Eg. In some denominations a decree from the leadership is considered on the same authority as the Scriptures. This is not Scriptural either.

    Why? What reason do we have to treat scripture as any sort of foundation or authority?

    I admit here that this is part of faith. Faith by its very definition requires that not all the dots are joined up for you.
    However, this is certainly not to mean that there is not historical merit and testing that has been done of the Scriptures.
    Jesus also commended the Old Testament as Scripture.]

    And as for Christianity being the same as other religions… which other religion deals with the concepts of sin, of God Himself condescending and becoming a human to take the world’s sin upon Himself and offer Grace to all of mankind?

    Obi dealt with this point in his comment, but I ask you, in turn, which religions do not instruct us how to behave, promise us rewards if we obey and punishments if we do not, and assign prominence to a few who supposedly understand these requirements in greater depth than the rest of us?

    You still didn’t answer my question of which other religion dealt with the issue of sin by sending God Himself to deal to it and offer Grace to all mankind.

    I absolutely agree that there are similarities in all religions… but Christianity and Judaism from which Christianity was birthed are separated by the above uniqueness.

    I will answer #1 last:

    2. The realisation that religious dogma contradicted observable reality

    Realizing that stories such as the Creation and the Flood were likely metaphorical made it hard to see stories of any miracles as factual.

    Who decided that these events were metaphorical? Jesus referred to Noah, not as a story but as an actual historical figure.
    Mat 24:38 ESV
    (38) For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark,

    Heb 11:7 ESV
    (7) By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

    3. realising the contradictions within the dogma itself.

    Jesus fulfilled the law, but did not abolish it, so we should follow some parts, sort of? (In other words, why prohibit both slavery and homosexual marriages when allowing the former has more scriptural support than denying the latter?)

    Scripture does not prohibit slavery? I’m not saying that it promoted it though.
    That is a great question about the fulfillment of the law.
    Jesus summarized the law and the prophets into the following 2 commands:
    Mat 22:36-40 ESV
    (36) “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”
    (37) And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
    (38) This is the great and first commandment.
    (39) And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
    (40) On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

    4. reading the bible was significant in ending their faith.

    The Hebrew Testament prophecies of Jesus that have nothing to do with Jesus, the irreconcilable differences in the death and resurrection stories, the contrary claims of resistible and irresistible grace, the lack of a scriptural claim that the Christian Testament should hold any authority, and the horrible limiting of a supposedly unlimited God, etc, etc.

    You have quite a few points here … and I think I need your clarification on all of them.
    1) Which Old Testament prophecies of Jesus have nothing to do with Jesus?
    2) What differences in the death and resurrection stories?
    3) Which contrary claims of resistible and irresistible grace?
    4) About the lack of claim regards to the New Testament… what sort of claim are you looking for?
    5) What horrible limiting of an unlimited God?

    5. the hypocrisy of the church.

    Not an issue for me.

    Agreed… its just a people thing.

    6. tried to speak to god and they now credit god’s lack of an answer for their de-conversion

    Over ten years of trying to submit to God’s will and only receiving vague and contradictory responses through scripture and people.

    I am afraid that I can not comment on your personal experiences… only to say that I believe that I have been ‘led’ by God through His speaking to me, via Scripture and via people.

    7. And finally, stumbling across the realisation that many religions were just like theirs

    Not an issue for me.

    See my comments about the unique standing of Christianity.

    1. Dissatisfaction with the answers to simple questions.

    I lack satisfactory answers to the following questions:
    a. Who is God?

    I believe that this question is best answered by looking at the Names of God… which reveal His character.
    Click this link to see some of His Names:

    http://www.ldolphin.org/Names.html

    b. Where is God?

    God is omni-present… which means that He is everywhere all at once.
    Mat 6:9 ESV
    (9) Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

    The word ‘Heaven’ in the above versus has the concept that God is in the very air that we breathe… not far away, but near to us.

    c. Does God care about individual humans, humanity as a whole, or neither?

    Joh 15:13 ESV
    (13) Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

    I have run out of time… but I will certainly come back to some of your questions.

    I trust that the above responses haven’t come off as pat answers… I have tried to be really concise.
    As I said in the beginning… I certainly lay no claim to having it all together or even having all the answers.

  • 22. Obi  |  July 7, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    clive smit —

    It seems you unintentionally ignored my post, which was #19, because I addressed the sources of much of the myths surrounding the life of Jesus that are found in the Christian religion. You seem to think that simply because your religion has some unique attributes that it is somehow special or more right than others. If you don’t mean this, pardon me, but that’s definitely how you come across.

    Regardless, the link I posted that links to ReligiousTolerance.com outlines a lot of the similarities, even concerning the things you think make Christianity unique.

    From ReligiousTolerance.com,
    He is “God made man,” and equal to the Father.
    He will return in the last days.
    He will judge the human race at that time.
    Humans are separated from God by original sin. The god-man’s sacrificial death reunites the believer with God and atones for the original sin.

    Those are all attributes that the Osiris-Dionysus gods shared. They are called Osiris-Dionysus gods because they were a specific category of gods that existed in the ancient world and which were worshipped by many mystery cults and disciple groups. Jesus was simply another one of these gods. Looking back into the history of religions and human interactions within this time shows exactly where all of the myths and legends about the god-man Jesus come from.

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa2.htm

  • 23. clive smit  |  July 8, 2008 at 7:54 am

    Obi, thanks for your comment mate.

    I will research and get back to you. I must admit that I know very little of the Osiris-Dionysus gods.

  • 24. Obi  |  July 8, 2008 at 10:24 am

    clive smit —

    Aye, you’re welcome. I also think I may have come off a bit too dismissive in that list one, so I apologize. I don’t mean to trivialize your religion, I only mean to put it in its historical context. It’s also somewhat interesting to see how we’re all connected through different influences as human beings — at least in my opinion.

  • 25. Quester  |  July 8, 2008 at 11:22 pm

    Clive,

    There are many events that occur that we just don’t have answers for. So my statement is not a guess… it just is.

    If your statement was, “We don’t have everything figured out”, you’d be correct. But you stated that we never will. Bible quotes aside, we can’t predict the future. So, again, I say that you’re just guessing.

    What I meant here was that there is a lot of dogma out there that is not based on Scripture, but rather on the authority of ‘teachers / religious leaders’.

    All right, fair enough. I’m used to thinking of dogma as being scripture interpreted in a particular way, but I’m willing to believe not all churches work that way.

    I admit here that this is part of faith. Faith by its very definition requires that not all the dots are joined up for you.
    However, this is certainly not to mean that there is not historical merit and testing that has been done of the Scriptures.

    Faith in what? Did God tell you to treat the Bible as an authority, or did teachers/religious leaders?

    You still didn’t answer my question of which other religion dealt with the issue of sin by sending God Himself to deal to it and offer Grace to all mankind.

    I absolutely agree that there are similarities in all religions… but Christianity and Judaism from which Christianity was birthed are separated by the above uniqueness.

    You’re right, I didn’t. Instead, I mentioned some of the similarities between religions. You are correct in saying that there are differences too. There have been many other religions with gods dying and rising again for the benefit of their chosen people, and religions promising good things to their followers, to be received after death, but I can’t think of another religion which defines sin as a problem that only God could deal with, then describes God eventually dealing with it, yet still leaves us stuck with sin and the consequences thereof after God has supposedly dealt with it. That may, indeed, be unique to Christianity.

    Who decided that these events were metaphorical?

    I suppose that instead of “metaphorical”, I should have echoed the language of Kieran’s point #2 and said that the Creation story and the story of Noah’s flood contradict observable reality. Do you believe both stories happened exactly as described in the Bible?

    Scripture does not prohibit slavery?

    Not that I’ve seen.

    I’m not saying that it promoted it though.

    I am. A quick Google search informs me that cracking open your favourite Bible translation and reading Leviticus 25:44-46, Exodus 21: 2-6 and 1 Timothy 6:1-2, might surprise you.

    And, while Jesus’ summary of the law looks nice, if you define loving God as obedience to scripture, and loving your neighbours as being willing to subject them to any torment if it might save them from the far greater and everlasting torments of Hell, it’s amazing what a Christian can justify.

    1) Which Old Testament prophecies of Jesus have nothing to do with Jesus?

    Isaiah 7 and Zechariah 9 (see Matthew 21) come to mind most quickly, though Isaiah 40 being claimed for John the Baptist deserves honourable mention.

    2) What differences in the death and resurrection stories?

    Look closely at all four Gospel accounts of the crucifixion and resurrection, paying attention to things like what Jesus said, who Jesus appeared to, where Jesus appeared to them, and in what order, as well as how long Jesus stayed after rising. See any irreconcilable differences?

    This may be a helpful article for you on this subject.

    3) Which contrary claims of resistible and irresistible grace?

    How about you defend one side, and I’ll take the other? Choose whether you believe that everyone will be saved by God, or whether only those who fit into some category or other will, and back it up with scripture. I’ll do the same with the other side of the argument.

    4) About the lack of claim regards to the New Testament… what sort of claim are you looking for?

    Paul claims the Old Testament is inspired by God, which can be interpreted as suggesting we us it as an authority. Where is it claimed that the New Testament is either inspired or written by God, or should be considered authoritative?

    5) What horrible limiting of an unlimited God?

    Any claim to know God, God’s will, or what happens after we die, and any attempt to change God’s will through prayer or ritual.

    I am afraid that I can not comment on your personal experiences… only to say that I believe that I have been ‘led’ by God through His speaking to me, via Scripture and via people.

    I once believed the same. I believed it strongly for many years.

    Don’t worry about the satisfactory answers to simple questions, or visit my blog and we’ll discuss it. We’ll go too wildly afield, otherwise.

    We’re both trying to be precise, and like you, I hope I’m not coming across as glib.

    I do not claim to have all the answers, either, but I see the questions as important.

  • 26. clive smit  |  July 10, 2008 at 9:01 am

    Hey Quester, I have just read your post called “Baggage, emotional and otherwise”. Man I felt where you were at all the way!
    Unfortunately WordPress requires that you log on to leave a comment… and I’m a blogger so I’m left on the outside.

    One of my top 3 reads for 07 was a book called, ‘As a driven Leaf’. Its a fictional book based on an actual historical character. Its the journey of a Rabbi who looses his faith. I think the book will really be where you’re at.

  • 27. Grant Dexter  |  July 11, 2008 at 8:32 am

    I think this report hits a few nails on the head. It also has some dross, but let’s see if we can’t deal with what are the most important issues.

    1. Dissatisfaction with the answers to simple questions.

    That this factor is listed number one gives me most reason to trust the veracity of the research. Religious answers to simple questions generally rely on two things in order to satisfy the questioner:
    * The answers rely on the questioner to imagine the unimaginable, or
    * The answers rely on the questioner to believe the answerer blindly.
    The answers the bible provides simply answer every big question about life and the universe. Religious misunderstanding, superstition and manipulation are the only reasons those answers are not delivered.

    2. The realisation that religious dogma contradicted observable reality.

    Observable reality consistently supports faith in Jesus Christ. I think Clive pointed out that the continued use of ‘dogma’ is always going to weigh down this report. If this report is about those who once confessed Christ then dogma has no part to play in their current state. Simply because confessing Christ means that all dogma has been stripped away. I can understand dogma being used as a justification for someone to use who has rejected Christ, but it is also entirely likely that such a person did not realise that faith in Christ brings freedom from all dogma.

    This point will be difficult for most to appreciate. Sorry, that’s just the way it is.

    3. Contradictions within the dogma itself.

    Again, in Christ there is no dogma. Those who recognise dogma in their faith have a faith in dogma, not Christ.

    4. Reading the bible was significant in ending their faith.

    It’s not an easy book to accept. But who in their right minds commits to a life with Christ without having taken the opportunity to read His word?

    5. Hypocrisy of the church.

    I think this statistic is a brach off the number one reason and steals some of its thunder. The church (people who confess Christ) should have answers to simple questions. They don’t and wind up being hypocrites in order to avoid admitting ignorance.

    6. God’s lack of an answer.

    All the answers are in His word. This is a cop out.

    7. Many religions were just like theirs.

    This is a cop out as well. If we were to throw out everything we believe that has similarities with something else we would never believe anything. I’ll not get into any discussion over Mithra, Dionyssus, Zoroastrianism or any other mythology. Simply because similarities they might have show nothing except that people like to copy others. The ideas are a rabbit hole with no bottom and only of service to those who wish to justify their rejection of Christ. If you wish to reject Christ then that is your right. Just as it is my right to ignore your justification.

    Thanks for your time.

  • 28. Grant Dexter  |  July 11, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Quester:

    I lack satisfactory answers to the following questions:

    Firstly you overplay your hand. I think it’s quite clear that this list of reasons is a justification for your lack of faith rather than genuine ignorance. I’m sure you genuinely do not know some of these answers, but let me just be clear with where I think this discussion will go before we start. OK?

    a. Who is God?
    Eternal Creator.

    b. Where is God?
    Anywhere He wants to be.

    c. Does God care about individual humans, humanity as a whole, or neither?
    Yes.

    d. Why has God created us/me?
    Because it pleases Him.

    e. What does God want of us/me?
    You to accept Him.

    f. Why is there death?
    Because people reject Him.

    g. What exactly did Jesus accomplish/what is the gospel message?
    Jesus died so that the world would not have to.

    hi. What do we need to do to be saved?
    Believe in Christ and accept His offer of salvation.

    hii. If you don’t do it, what happens?
    You get to live life eternally separated from Christ.

    i. What/who do we need to be saved from?
    Separation from God.

    j. Why do we need to be saved?
    Being with your creator is why you were created.

    k. How does God intend for us to use the Bible?
    Like a book.

    l. Why is faith considered a virtue?
    Why wouldn’t it be? Do you have faith that your husband or wife will not leave you?

    m. How do we know (any of the above)?
    By believing what God said.

    n. Why do so many Christians disagree with each other on the answers to the above questions?
    Because they’re stupid.

    But, to be fair, I operate within a group of about 30 Christians who do not disagree on any of the above. And to be even more fair, I doubt you would be able to find many Christians who do disagree substantially with many of my responses above (though they are limited).

    NOTE: Clive posted a slightly different response to mine for question b. Is this the sort of disagreement you’re worried about? If so, don’t you think you’re nit picking just a little?

    o. Why would God communicate in a manner open to so many contradictory interpretations?
    He doesn’t. His word is very clear.

    p. If God is all-powerful and loves us, why are there hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and disease?
    The Earth is broken.

    q. When will God fulfil His promise of Isaiah 65:20?
    Later.

    r. Why does Matthew’s gospel consider Isaiah 7 a prophecy of Christ?
    Why not?

    s. Why does Adam’s choice affect us more effectively than Christ’s?
    It doesn’t me. Why does it you?

    ti. If salvation is not universal, why isn’t it?
    It’s not universal because God gave us the ability to choose for ourselves and many do not choose Him.

    tii. If salvation is universal, in what way does it concern us?
    Salvation is universally offered, but not universally accepted.

    u. Christ repeatedly instructed his followers to heal people. Why can’t we?
    Because Christ instructed His followers to heal, not us.

    v. What happened to Jesus in his hometown (Mark 6: 1-6)? Does God need our faith to be able to act?
    People were generally healed because they had faith. Without that faith Jesus did not force healing upon them.

    w. How long must I seek and not find?
    As long as you want.

  • 29. Grant Dexter  |  July 11, 2008 at 9:32 am

    Speaking of stupid :D

    Question C (Does God care about individual humans, humanity as a whole, or neither?) I should have answered with, “He cares about people individually and corporately.”

    I’ll learn to read to the end of the question next time ;)

  • 30. Obi  |  July 11, 2008 at 10:20 am

    Grant Dexter said, “This is a cop out as well. If we were to throw out everything we believe that has similarities with something else we would never believe anything. I’ll not get into any discussion over Mithra, Dionyssus, Zoroastrianism or any other mythology. Simply because similarities they might have show nothing except that people like to copy others. The ideas are a rabbit hole with no bottom and only of service to those who wish to justify their rejection of Christ. If you wish to reject Christ then that is your right. Just as it is my right to ignore your justification.

    Interesting…
    Why do you reject these similarities? For any particular reason?

  • 31. mysteryofiniquity  |  July 11, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Obi wrote:
    “because the validity of a position shouldn’t be based upon the lives of those that follow it,”

    “By their fruits ye shall know them…”

    Oh, and if only this were true in an election season…..

  • 32. BigHouse  |  July 11, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Grant #28:

    Great answers. Now, can you justify any them without the circular logic of:

    I believe X becayse the Bible tells me so.
    I believe in the Bible because it says X.

    Thanks.

  • 33. LeoPardus  |  July 11, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    Grant:

    Not really knowing anything about who we are on this site, you made some very wrong assumptions. We already know all the “answers” you have given.

    Quester was an ordained minister. Others around here were ministers, seminarians, apologists, religious majors, bible study leaders, etc. In fact most of the de-cons on this blog could argue your side of things at least as well as you can.

    Just thought you ought to have some idea who you’re talking to before you dig a deeper hole.

  • 34. Joe  |  July 11, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    Grant Dexter said, “This is a cop out as well. If we were to throw out everything we believe that has similarities with something else we would never believe anything. I’ll not get into any discussion over Mithra, Dionyssus, Zoroastrianism or any other mythology. Simply because similarities they might have show nothing except that people like to copy others.

    Grant—

    You said it much better than I have in the past. This logic is used greatly on this blog. If one says “Jesus died on a cross for my sins” you immediately are told “Well, Dionysus died for men’s sins also”. Even though Dionysus is an extremely different “god” than Jesus Christ is—-Dionysus was the “god of wine and intoxication”. No matter what is mentioned they find some similarity elsewhere, and state that THEREFORE Christianity is not valid.

    As you said:

    The ideas are a rabbit hole with no bottom and only of service to those who wish to justify their rejection of Christ.

    I agree totally. You can find “similarities” for anything if you look for it. And if one is going to base what they do not believe on the fact that other religions have “similar” things in them to Christianity, as you said, one would never believe anything at all.

  • 35. Joe  |  July 11, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Quester was an ordained minister. Others around here were ministers, seminarians, apologists, religious majors, bible study leaders, etc. In fact most of the de-cons on this blog could argue your side of things at least as well as you can.

    Sincerely, I do not mean this as an attack. But I have been very surprised by the lack of Biblical knowledge on the board from some of the ex-christians here. They can “lift” verses they want to use to attempt to disprove something, but there knowledge and use of Scripture. Many of the way these are used by bloggers here can be found by Goggling “Bible Difficulties” or going to this site: http://www.apocalipsis.org/difficulties.htm

    It won’t answer all the questions, but will show how some of the arguments used to “disprove” the Bible are downright silly.

  • 36. Joe  |  July 11, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    I cut off a the end of my sentence above—

    Should read: “they can lift verses they want to use to attempt to disprove something, but their knowledge about, and use of Scripture leaves much to be desired. Many of the ways these are used by bloggers…..”

  • 37. BigHouse  |  July 11, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Joe,

    It’s not surprising that you continue to not understand the logic behind the ‘similarities’ argument as being presented. It’s becuase you’ve already made up your mind. Then you go and question the intelligence and training of those here presenting the alternate view. Nicejob. Also, it’s not very Christian-like.

    As Alanis Morisette would say…

  • 38. Joe  |  July 11, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    It’s not surprising that you continue to not understand the logic behind the ’similarities’ argument as being presented. It’s becuase you’ve already made up your mind. Then you go and question the intelligence and training of those here presenting the alternate view. Nicejob. Also, it’s not very Christian-like.

    BigHouse—-

    Come on—you know that all the “deconverts” have already made up their mind also—that’s why they use the “similarities” argument—-it is almost impossible to refute because there is always another “similarity” you can use if the first one didn’t work.

    LOL—-and now you are going to lay the “And you call yourself a Christian?” guilt trip on me for questioning the Biblical intelligence on the board? Why not question it? Are deconverts the only one’s who can question someone intelligence? I have been called “simple-minded, closed-minded, and stupid” on the board. I just laugh it off—it’s part of what happens when people post on a blog.

    As I mentiioned before a couple of times—-when Jesus took a whip and drove the money-changers out of the Temple, or called the Pharisses “Vipers”, or cursed the fig-tree, those standing near him were heard to say “That’s not very Christ-Like of you Jesus!!”

    Nicejob on the post BigHouse, but it isn’t very reasonable of you–and you call yourself a de-con.

  • 39. BigHouse  |  July 11, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    You bring up another interesting tidbit, Jesus not acting very Jesus-like. Yet another inconsistency of a supposed inerrant book.

  • 40. Joe  |  July 11, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    You bring up another interesting tidbit, Jesus not acting very Jesus-like. Yet another inconsistency of a supposed inerrant book.

    Jesus not acting very “Jesus like”? That’s the whole point of my jest about the people saying that to him. How can WE say that Jesus did not act very “Jesus-like” unless we accept the fact that we are creating a Jesus we “want” in our minds, rather than the Jesus found in the Bible? Jesus not being “Jesus-like” in no where near an “inconsistency” BigHouse—how can it be inconsistent? It can only be inconsistent if it doesn’t match the Jesus YOU HAVE IN MIND, and not the one revealed in the Bible.

    People dislike a concept of hell, but Jesus taught it more than anyone else. He wasn’t being very “Jesus-like” to the people who don’t like a concept of hell, but he did teach it. I think you need to reinvestigate your logic a bit on this—and I say that nicely.

  • 41. BigHouse  |  July 11, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    If you cannot see any contradictions in “turn the other cheek” and “give unto caesar what is caesar” and flipping tables of money changers over screaming like a madman, well, I guess that’s one interpretation.

    As has been said, you start with the idea that Jesus is perfect. You do so becuase the Bible tells you so. So, anything that belies that conclusion has an ‘explanation’ like ‘it’s a mystery’ or ‘jesus can do what he wants he’s God’. To those who don’t think the Bible is inerrant AS AN INITIAL POSITION use this information to help decide whether TO TAKE that position or not.

    If you’ve already made up your mind, then as Obi said in the other thread, it’s not going to bear much fruit debating with you.

    Enjoy.

  • 42. Grant Dexter  |  July 11, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Obi – I explained fairly clearly why I reject discussions of similarity disproving authenticity. Perhaps you could read my explanation again. ;)

    Bighouse – I believe my answers because they are what God said. I believe God because I trust His word and it has always been consistent.

    On what basis do you reject God’s word? For if you find my acceptance of Christ illogical then your rejection of Him will be illogical for exactly the same reason. ;)

    LeoPardus – I explained my understanding of the nature of the people who might promote this website at the beginning of my post. Perhaps you should read that again. Note the part where I said, ‘I do not doubt you understand the questions…’ ;)

    Joe – Thanks :)

  • 43. quis separabit?  |  July 11, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    Heres an interesting thought…

    We say not very Jesus like talking about Jesus showing righteous anger, but wasn’t it Jesus that did it…

    Grant,

    Could you please difine your religious beleif/faith for me?

  • 44. Grant Dexter  |  July 11, 2008 at 11:38 pm

    Quis – Christian.

  • 45. The Apostate  |  July 12, 2008 at 1:18 am

    Grant,

    Quis – Christian.

    Gnostic Christian?
    Catholic Christian?
    Mainline Protestant Christian?
    Evangelical Protestant Christian?
    Episcopal (Anglican) Christian?
    Pentecostal (pseudo-gnostic) Christian?
    Anabaptist Christian?
    Liberal Christian?
    Emergent (Liberal) Christian?
    Emergent (Conservative) Christian?


  • 46. Grant Dexter  |  July 12, 2008 at 1:36 am

    :squint:

    ‘Saved by faith in Christ by the grace of God’ Christian. There’s no relevance to any labels.

  • 47. clive smit  |  July 15, 2008 at 7:18 am

    Obi… you made mention of how Christians use a circular logic when it comes to using and proving the Bible.

    Here is my question…
    Science is based on hypothesis. These hypothesis are not fact. Just good guess work.

    Sometimes science proves true, and other times we realize that our hypothesis were incorrect and we need to start over.

    Don’t you think you guys put as much faith into science as Christians do into the Bible?

  • 48. ubi dubium  |  July 15, 2008 at 9:38 am

    Clive:

    Don’t you think you guys put as much faith into science as Christians do into the Bible?

    No! For one thing – science is a process of figuring out things. Realizing that a hypothesis is wrong and dumping it and starting over is part of what science is all about. If it wasn’t, your doctor would still be trying to balance your bodily humors with leeches and purging.

    If you are approaching things scientifically, you have to start with what the evidence shows you, and you have to be ready to admit your premise is wrong. And that’s something that religions can’t do. If our hypothesis isn’t matching reality, we dump it and get a better one. If the bible isn’t matching reality, fundamentalists just say they have “faith” that it somehow still is true. There is no way they would “dump” a portion that just wan’t working out.

    I trust that science works because it works. I go on evidence, not faith. Airplanes fly, my remote turns on my TV, and my computer connects to the internet. They don’t do it by “good guess work” either. And unless you’re Amish (and you’re not, because you’re posting on a blog) you trust it too.

    And for some of us, when we turned that idea of evidence, and keeping only what works, onto the faith we had been taught as children, we wound up dumping religion as a failed hypothesis.

  • 49. BigHouse  |  July 15, 2008 at 9:42 am

    Clive, ubi puts it well above, but I will add that scienTISTS are humans and as such, COULD have biases, predispositions etc that would lead them to draw certain conclusions that the data may or may not support. But that would be out in the open for other scientists to critque and refinement would go from there.

    Science itself isn’t a religion, but SCIENTISTS can deify it.

  • 50. Anonymous  |  July 15, 2008 at 10:20 am

    Grant:

    “I believe my answers because they are what God said. I believe God because I trust His word and it has always been consistent.”

    If I could (hypothetically speaking) show you an inconsistency in God’s Word, would your change your position on theism?

    Forget, for a moment, whether or not I actually can show you one. That’s not the point I’m trying to make right now. I’m only asking you if your faith is subject to the perfection of the Bible. If you discovered errors or inconsistencies in the Bible, would YOU de-convert?

  • 51. Grant Dexter  |  July 15, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Of course if you showed me an inconsistency that I recognised as valid within the bible I would recognise it! My response would depend on where and how the inconsistency arose. This is much like the question over science. I found Ubi’s response to Clive rather self serving. What part of learning theology does not lend itself toward the possibility that the student might be wrong? Why is a scientist capable of searching for truth in his field and adjusting his thinking accordingly and a bible student not?

  • 52. Anonymous  |  July 15, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Grant:

    Good, I’m glad to hear that you recognize that there are legitimate and demonstrable reasons why a person would abandon belief in God (or gods, spirits, etc.)

    Do you believe that the Bible is the perfect and inerrant word of God, recorded and passed down perfectly without mistranslation, additions or omissions and absolutely beyond question by humans?

  • 53. Grant Dexter  |  July 15, 2008 at 9:10 pm

    Do you believe that the Bible is the perfect and inerrant word of God, recorded and passed down perfectly without mistranslation, additions or omissions and absolutely beyond question by humans?

    Not exactly. I believe that the authors were inspired by God and that the message is entirely consistent, but I do not think that translation is a perfect process. But it’s a big enough book such that any mistakes can be recognised easily.

  • 54. ubi dubium  |  July 15, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    Grant:

    I found Ubi’s response to Clive rather self serving. What part of learning theology does not lend itself toward the possibility that the student might be wrong? Why is a scientist capable of searching for truth in his field and adjusting his thinking accordingly and a bible student not?

    Well, Grant, first please notice that I had modified it by saying “fundamentalists”. I am quite aware that not all bible scholars are like this, but I have had a fair share of fundies trumpet in my face their belief that every single word of the bible is true. Including my brother-in-law. (ugh.)

    But Grant, would you, for instance, be open to discarding large chunks of the bible as wrong if you found they were not lining up with observable reality? Not just your interpretation of it, but the text itself? That’s the comparison I’m making here.

    I appreciate that you realize that there may be translation errors. That’s good to hear. At least we don’t need to have the biblical infallibility argument.

  • 55. Quester  |  July 16, 2008 at 1:57 am

    Why is a scientist capable of searching for truth in his field and adjusting his thinking accordingly and a bible student not?

    This is a very important point that Grant raises. Bible students, Bible scholars and theologians are fully capable of searching for truth in our field of study and adjusting our thinking according to what we find.

    That’s one of the ways many of us ended up here, as de-converted Christians.

  • 56. John Morales  |  July 16, 2008 at 3:43 am

    To add to what Quester wrote, I wish to note there’s a difference between searching for truth and “knowing” the truth and searching for justification for that “knowledge”.

    Frankly, I’ve met a number of self-proclaimed Bible students who I believe engage in the latter whilst calling it the former.

    The former is challenging for True Believers.

  • 57. Grant Dexter  |  July 16, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Ubi:But Grant, would you, for instance, be open to discarding large chunks of the bible as wrong if you found they were not lining up with observable reality? Not just your interpretation of it, but the text itself? That’s the comparison I’m making here.

    That sounds like it would be a very difficult thing to show. Let’s put it this way .. if you’ve got anything that does what you describe then my opinions will become indefensible.

    But I cannot answer this question in a general sense because the area or extent to which you are able to show the bible as inconsistent will influence how I respond.

    I appreciate that you realize that there may be translation errors. That’s good to hear. At least we don’t need to have the biblical infallibility argument.

    Oh, I don’t know. You probably don’t know what infallible means ;)

  • 58. Grant Dexter  |  July 16, 2008 at 9:05 am

    Also, Ubi, what do you gain from ridiculing only those who you might describe as fundamentalists? Why should a fundamentalist be unable to admit error as opposed to a scientist?

  • 59. ubi dubium  |  July 16, 2008 at 9:50 am

    Grant:

    But I cannot answer this question in a general sense because the area or extent to which you are able to show the bible as inconsistent will influence how I respond.

    I wasn’t asking “would you discard it, based on certain evidence that I will show you?” I was asking you “would you be able to discard it, if the evidence were sufficient?” Different question.

    …what do you gain from ridiculing only those who you might describe as fundamentalists? Why should a fundamentalist be unable to admit error as opposed to a scientist?

    I’m not ridiculing, merely describing what they have told me their beliefs are. I have a brother-in-law who is a charter member of the creation museum. For him, when reality differs from the bible, its reality that has to give.

    And a scientist who is unable to admit error is not likely to contribute much that is useful to his field.

  • 60. Grant Dexter  |  July 16, 2008 at 10:35 am

    I wasn’t asking “would you discard it, based on certain evidence that I will show you?” I was asking you “would you be able to discard it, if the evidence were sufficient?” Different question.
    What a ridiculous question! Of course I am capable of rejecting any and everything. Why would you ask such a thing?

    I’m not ridiculing, merely describing what they have told me their beliefs are.
    Heh. Well you clearly see such things as ridiculous…

    I have a brother-in-law who is a charter member of the creation museum. For him, when reality differs from the bible, its reality that has to give.
    OK. Well I’ve never been faced with having to deny reality….

    Perhaps your brother in law just isn’t that smart ;)

    And a scientist who is unable to admit error is not likely to contribute much that is useful to his field.
    Neither is a fundamentalist. I still do not get why you are trying to make the case that fundamentalists have no choice in what they believe.

  • 61. ubi dubium  |  July 16, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Grant –

    The fundamentalists that I know have chosen to believe without questioning. I am not trying to make a case about them, but rather to ascertain whether the person I am talking to shares this belief. You don’t, which is good. That makes it more interesting to talk to you.

    What scares me about my brother-in-law is that in other ways he is smart. His job is to inspect airplane maintenance facilities. He does electrical wiring in his own house. Most of science and technology are things he embraces. But then he has posters up for his children showing how all the layers of fossils, all over the world, were supposedly caused by one biblical flood. It’s a mental disconnect that I can’t understand. He has a mindset of “scientific discoveries are great, except for those in the field of the history of life, and those must be proclaimed false, because they are not in agreement with the bible.” Visiting him makes my brain hurt.

  • 62. Grant Dexter  |  July 16, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    Sounds like a smart guy! :thumb: I teach my kids the same things.

  • 63. BadBibleQuotingDetector  |  July 25, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    A few of my main reasons for de-conversion were the fact that

    1. Trying to talk to God, interact with him or engage him without letting church leaders manipulate the process or re frame it on me – absolutely failed time and time again. God doesn’t work without a human being behind the curtain.

    2. Religion/Christianity relied on cult tactics to convert, indoctrinate, keep members and create in them eternal allegiance. For instance, relying on emotions rather than logic or reason as seen by constant singing, emotional praying, passionate preaching etc. Non-sensical actions like praying in tongues which separates you from outsiders that you view as fallen and as non-understanding. Encouraging food deprivation through fasting. Sleep deprivation and stress by extremely motivating people to evangelize / serve the church before the lost go to hell. Giving money to receive a blessing. Relying on mob mentalities/group think. Punishing and ostracizing those who voice doubts or tough questions. Creating scape goats/villans – gays, porno, video games. Constant repetition of scriptures and encouragement of Bible reading. Building confusion with too much information and then offering the solution. Gaining all the intimate knowledge of vulnerable people and then telling you to give you money and stay with the church/god forever without any hope of being able to function on their own. Creating an us vs them mentality. Separating them from the outside world. Making them adopt an entirely new way of seeing / interacting with the world. Relying on indoctrination etc.

    3. I guess I could always forgive God for not answering and see it as a test of my faith. I could forgive the church for using brainwashing techniques as an immature and unconscious crutch. But ultimately I could not forgive a God, a church and pastors for perpetuating a system that solely relies on the exploitation of human psychological weaknesses, false conclusions and malfunctions. A belief system that goes on auto pilot and has no emergency brake, emergency light or possibility to know when it is going over the deep end is a suicide mission to me. There are no reformation controls built in, the only thing that really caused reformations was the understanding of science or true human nature. God, church and Bible will go on forever and full blast, no matter what the truth is nor what is right. That was so dangerous I had to quit.
    I didn’t want to be part of a group that was innoculated against truth, reason, science or common sense.

    4. Once I learned psychology and the essence of the scientific method I truly saw that all religious mystical experiences can be replicated through stress, brain damage, artistic sensitivity and manipulation. Why should I believe my own implausible religious experiences or those experiences of people who supposedly had them written down in the bible, or who preach them as testimonies? They do not differ from malfunctions or manipulations. I shouldn’t believe them. It is not wise, nor healthy.

    5. Also if you take the bible literally and absolutely faithfully it does not function. Its philosophy does not function in the extreme and therefore does not function at all. It only works if you water it down. Then why not get rid of it all together and just drink water?

  • 64. Joshua  |  July 27, 2009 at 1:36 am

    BadBibleQuotingDetector, your comment should really be a full post here on the site.

  • 65. The Toad  |  June 20, 2012 at 12:29 am

    I think I’ve compiled a more descriptive list based on what research I’ve conducted so far; more to come in the near future.

    http://deconblog.wordpress.com/decons

  • 66. Ayaa  |  November 18, 2012 at 2:30 am

    When things head out netgeivaly drastically wrong regarding one’s land, as is also the scenario with regards to the America, what exactly is essentially required is actually hope as well as optimism, not really rage in addition to lose heart. There is a shortage from the the previous along with a glut on the last mentioned inside impacted nation. The real difference in mind-set amongst Clinton and also Obama in reply to this particular problems lets us know just about all we need to know concerning the 2 presidents

  • 67. Donald  |  October 24, 2013 at 9:17 am

    Why do Christians deconvert? This is what Jesus had to say about them;

    “3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.” Matthew 3 – 9

    They’ve been deconverting since Jesus sacrified Himself on the cross for them, and they will continue to deconvert until He returns but not to worry, those of us who haven’t deconverted will continue to pray for the poor souls!

  • 68. cag  |  October 24, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    Donald #68, you sanctimonious twit, quoting a work of fiction to justify your delusional way of thinking. Can you not understand that if your pusillanimous friend in the sky existed that we would be part of the “plan”? Why would you implore your imaginary friend to change the “perfect plan”? Don’t pray for us, do something useful instead.

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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