Reasons for my de-conversion (1 of 4)

October 24, 2009 at 12:01 am 29 comments

I have recently been asked by several individuals to detail the reasons behind my de-conversion from Christianity to my current position of agnosticism. As a preface to this, I’d like to state my general disposition towards Christianity.

I spent over 25 years as a Christian, and for most of those years I was quite happy. I forged many significant relationships, and learned much while within a Christian community. I do not feel, as do some non-believers who have never been on the inside, that Christians are, as a whole, evil people intent on forcing their agenda on others. I do, however, believe that most Christians are uninterested in an honest inquiry into what is true due to vested interests of various emotions. I will detail these emotions later.

First, I must comment on what I feel is the greatest overlooked truth when considering knowledge and belief; human minds are not well-equipped to assess what is true. This is in stark contrast to the tacit Christian notion that all truths that matter are immediately accessible to nearly every human without much cognitive effort. Let me elaborate.

Religious sects all around the world subscribe to a set of beliefs that set them apart from other sects. They then claim that these “truths” within their faith are either accessible through common sense, common rationality, or divine revelation. This forces them to conclude that persons in all other sects are self-delusional, and rebelling against the truth that is apparent either through reason or divine revelation. It is assumed that these persons feel some sort of guilt stemming from their rebellion or rejection of truth.

However, this assumption is testable. If Christians were to befriend Muslims, they would discover that this is not true. The Muslims do not possess this sense of guilt, and instead possess the same deep confidence in the tenets of their faith as do Christians. Persons who have spent time among persons of another faith normally do not find people who are evil, bitter and guilty, but rather persons who possess a faith that constructs a society of familial and social warmth without the guilt stemming from rejecting the “true” god.

So there exists this game played among religious sects in which they refuse to examine the minds of others, and instead assume that they know better. They assume this because their respective religious texts have told them it is true. This is just one of many assumptions that I’ll discuss later that religionists accept on blind faith.

When someone discovers that this assumption of guilt and general malevolence in others is false, there is only one other conclusion; the human capacity to assess what is true and false is dysfunctional and deficient. The human mind has no natural ability to correctly assess truths that extend very far outside our local daily lives. What is intuitive does not well-correlate with what is true.

This can be very easily seen in the way humans assess risks. We fear flying, but have no problem with a cholesterol-laden diet that is far more likely to kill. We have to ponder carefully even the simplest of syllogisms, and are often still in error.

However, most religions, including Christianity affirm the notion that we are fully capable of assessing intuitively, or with souls that directly interface with some spiritual realm, which god if any is real without considerable training in critical thinking. This is simply not true. Our own ability is essentially identical to the ability of persons belonging to sects that we claim are clearly wrong. There is no evil rebellion against the truth of god, only a lamentable cognitive inadequacy of humans.

To claim otherwise as a mature adult who should have by now identified this inherent flaw in faith-based assertions is to reveal one’s own xenophobic inexperience and arrogance. This arrogance is a hallmark of extant religions. Human cognition is inherently weak. This notion is not very palatable to many since it implies that truth is best assessed by those who have been trained in reasoning. Nonetheless, it is demonstrably true.

Because successful religions must appeal to the masses, these religions all possess scriptures that invert this notion. The wise become foolish, and the foolish wise. This is one of the most powerful lies of religion; you can intuit truth. This unduly credits human cognition with enormous power. Human cognition is never questioned when assessing truth.

Coupled with this is an over-reliance on the emotion of confidence. We “feel” that something is true, and therefore it is true. The hidden assumption here is that this sense of confidence is god-given. God gives us this confidence to bear witness that we are sons of god. Once again, many Christians arrogantly assume that this same emotion of confidence cannot exist in the hearts of Muslims, and that they are knowingly in rebellion to the truth. After all, that’s what the bible tells us, does it not?

This now brings us to faith. Faith is not a virtue. The concept of faith as something noble is incoherent. Christians decry the faith of Muslims, but praise their own. However, the emotions are identical. Much like the concept of intercessory prayer, the concept of faith is defined differently even by persons within the same congregation and morphs evasively whenever it is questioned.

I’ve even corresponded with a quite notable apologist on the definition of faith never to receive a clear answer. Yet, it is positioned as the cornerstone of many religions. When asking 50 Christians “where does evidence end, and faith begin?” there will be 50 answers. So also with their interpretations of Hebrews 11:1. It is a stop-gap that allows the “faithful” to smugly fall back on when the evidence for their faith thins under scrutiny.

Faith has no virtue. Holding a belief in Santa as a little child is cute as best, and becomes pitiful if held past adolescence. Yet, such faith is encouraged in respect to the local god. And children with their under-developed rationality end up accepting the god of their parents with nearly no exceptions. If there were a god giving special revelation to the “foolish”, this would not be true. A number of children in Saudi Arabia would reject the god of their parents to accept the “true” god of Christianity on account of special revelation. This does not happen.

- Phil Stilwell


Part 1   |   Part 2   |   Part 3   |   Part 4

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A Bible Command that Backfires Reasons for my de-conversion (2 of 4)

29 Comments Add your own

  • 1. orDover  |  October 24, 2009 at 1:09 am

    I agree that faith is not a virtue, especially if we’re talking about a blind sort of faith rather than an earned trust. I’ve challenged many Christians to explain to me why faith in God is considered a virtue when faith is something else, like, say, Nigerian Kings who want to make you rich if you give them your social security number and bank account information, is consider gullible and irresponsible. Why is “believing without seeing” ever a good thing?

  • 2. atimetorend  |  October 24, 2009 at 4:53 am

    While intuitive thinking is something we all need to do every day, it is confusing that with the soul, or claiming that critical thinking should be subservient to intuition that causes so much confusion. The same thing as with faith as you mention in your last paragraph, elevating faith above critical thinking. You did a really great job of explaining those concepts.

  • 3. mikespeir  |  October 24, 2009 at 7:18 am

    Interesting and well written. But I have a couple of concerns.

    “This forces them to conclude that persons in all other sects are self-delusional, and rebelling against the truth that is apparent either through reason or divine revelation.”

    I wonder if you’re not projecting Christianity onto other religions here. Now, I spent a year in Turkey, so I think I can say with some measure of assurance that Muslims are this way. I suspect it would also be true of Jews. How about Buddhists? I spent a year in Korea, too, but I have to admit that I never got close enough to any Korean Buddhists or shamanists to be able to answer that question.

    Second, you seem to call faith an emotion. It may be a quibble, but why?

    BTW, I think Hebrews 11:6 tells us more about Christian faith than 11:1, but that might be off-topic.

  • 4. Xtine  |  October 24, 2009 at 11:58 am

    The problem with discussions with apologists is that, yes, they are willing to dig and examine their faith deeply, but ultimately it still comes down to faith – and if others don’t come to the same common sensed, or examined, faith as their own, the skeptic/non-believer just hasn’t dug deep enough. Apologists are some of the most stubborn in their faith though they acknowledge and are aware of every reason to not have faith. In the process of defending their faith to the world, they have defended their faith to themselves – which is nearly impossible to get around. Reason and logic skips a beat when jumping from rational truth to faith.

    All Truth pointed to Christ, if a person was willing to see it. Most other faiths used the same argument, but ultimately true Truth seekers would find their way to Christ. (I don’t think Buddhists are as prone to this.) I learned that there was lower-case truth and upper-case Truth. I also learned to not respect apologists, though for the rational thinking Christian apologetics was a tempting route to go. Apologists water down faith while clinging to it as irrationally as those who don’t examine their faith. I almost prefer the unexamined faith to the over-examined.

    Looking forward to future posts!

  • 5. Brian  |  October 26, 2009 at 10:23 am

    I remember listening to a sermon on Christian radio one time where a pastor / theology professor asked his Christian students, “How do you know Jesus is God.” And most of them answered some variation of, “Well because, I have faith” or “Well, because I believe it.” And I’ve gotta give this guy credit because he challenged that stupid answer and said, “Is it true simply because you believe it, or do you believe it because it’s true?”

    Unfortunately the speaker didn’t take it to the next logical step of, “How do you KNOW it’s true so that you can have faith in it?” That’s a question no credible Christian has been able to answer beyond “I just know.” Okay great, so do all the Muslims, Buddhists, and Mormons out there.

  • 6. Phil Stilwell  |  October 27, 2009 at 5:46 am

    Mikespeir asked “Second, you seem to call faith an emotion. It may be a quibble, but why?”

    You’ve probably noted how people, in an attempt to ennoble their notion of “love”, add arbitrary or artificial criteria, stipulations and ontological frameworks. Yet at its very basic meaning, love remains simply an emotion.

    So also with this emotional confidence called “faith” that is evoked to transcend the available evidence. It is irrational to go beyond the evidence, yet the warm fuzzy confidence somehow makes it feel right.

    The biblical authors and other humans have attempted to place this emotion into a framework to give it a dignity that might somehow transcend the gullible faith of children in Santa, but as it is used conventionally by theists, “faith” remains primarily an emotion that is evoked to combat the cognitive dissonance that stems from incoherent or inconsistent scriptures, and invoked as something noble to combat the “ignoble” dependence of skeptics on reasoned evidence.

  • 7. mile high  |  October 27, 2009 at 11:00 am

    “A number of children in Saudi Arabia would reject the god of their parents to accept the “true” god of Christianity on account of special revelation. This does not happen.”

    I agree with your post. As you dig deeper into Christianity, the teaching becomes increasingly inconsistent with reality. Cognitive dissonance must be ignored to continue in the belief system. However- I do know of many former Muslims who came to faith in Christ through dream & visions, ‘revelation’ if you will. These people claim that Jesus came and spoke to them, leading to their conversion. So yes, it does happen even if it may be imagined.
    Any thoughts?

  • 8. Phil Stilwell  |  October 27, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Yes. Most Christians are unfamiliar with Muhammad. In contrast, most Muslims know much about Jesus as he was mentioned in the Koran (2: 87; 5: 110-117), and spoken about in mosques. Given this familiarity and the harsh reality of an Islamic lifestyle, visions of this sort are to be expected. An analogy is the sharp increase in the number of sightings of big-eyed aliens only after pictures of such aliens were popularized across America. Whenever you combine superficial knowledge with millions of malleable minds, you’ll have some interesting outliers.

  • 9. mile high  |  October 27, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    Thanks for the insight Phil. I’d actually like to read more about the claims of Muslim dreams about Jesus if there is anything out there. Friends of mine claim it is happening all of the time, so I would like to have more information. Any links would be helpful.

  • 10. Phil Stilwell  |  October 27, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Thanks, Mile High. I’d be interested in the evidence that your friend can provide. It sounds like it may be another embellished claim.

    My information comes largely from the guys from the Saudi Embassy whom I hang out with here in Tokyo. I’ll see if they have more to say on this.

  • 11. Joe  |  October 27, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Phil—

    Just out of curiosity, since you mentioned it in #8—-is there a belief in alien abduction in Japan? Since the Japanese seem to always take something that was invented and make it better, I am curious if the same has happened with the alien abduction stories over there—–are they better than the ones here? :>)

  • 12. Phil Stilwell  |  October 27, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Hi Joe,

    The Japanese already have an abundant taxonomy of unique monsters and myths. But most of them are spoken about very light-heartedly. Japanese television does pull from western myths, but these myths seem to not take on the same cognitive depth of reality.

  • 13. Joe  |  October 28, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Phil—

    Thanks. To this day every time I see Japanese twin women I expect a giant moth to show up.

  • 14. Joshua  |  October 28, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Friends of mine claim it is happening all of the time, so I would like to have more information

    Goodness, I hear that it is happening “all the time” myself.

    Then I had my own story about a dream that blew my mind.

    When I was around 10 I had an extremely spiritual dream. I have never forgotten it and have written it down in detail several times over the years. Each time I go back and read a previous writing about the dream, my memories remain accurate.

    Then one day I told the dream to a lady friend of mine. Apparently she “remembered” it.

    Then, when I left the faith, she came back to me and said “Josh, do you remember the dream you had?” She then proceeded to tell me my own dream. Except it was so convoluted and twisted I did not even recognize it and thought that maybe she got it confused with something else.

    Goodness, I thought, if I can tell someone something and then a month later they come back and tell me what I told them and it is all messed up – on something as crucial as a dream… how can I trust any of these second hand spiritual stories coming from other countries?

    It completely destroyed my trust of anything second hand – especially as it relates to spiritual experiences.

  • 15. mile high  |  October 28, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Joshua,
    Yeah, it’s hard to know if the stories are reliable. I did actually interview someone first hand, a person who had the Jesus dream and changed faiths. That person knew others who had a similar dream. Many of the stories we hear turn out to be embellshed over time, so it’s worth looking at the source (if it’s available).

  • 16. Tim  |  February 16, 2010 at 6:05 am

    Thank you for this site. I think you articulate the objections/questions of Christianity very well.

    As a recent convert to Christianity, it is good for me to go through the objections to ‘test my faith’. I know them pretty well already because I was a skeptic for years. And I can honestly say that these questions have not dissolved once my heart was touched and changed by the Holy Spirit. I retain doubts that the Bible is the Word of God, however, I ‘feel’ very strongly that so much of it was inspired. The common theme between NT and OT – love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul. That to me is the essence of Christianity. When I am focused on that, I am at peace. When I let something else become first, I am not. It is hard to describe succinctly and it certainly varies to some extent from one person to the next.

    An analogy that comes to me are those 3D posters that were popular 20 years ago or so. You can stare at them as long as you want and may see nothing but gibberish. But suddenly, your mind flips and you see the 3D image. You can try to tell somebody else how to see it, but the instructions are usually clumbsy and of no value. Its something each person just has to figure out for themselves.

    Christianity is that 3D image. Once you see it, you may still lose it, but it is easier to see again. It takes discipline and focus to ‘stay in the image’, but being there is preferable to seeing gibberish.

  • 17. Ubi Dubium  |  February 16, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Tim,

    What I found, though, back in my church-going days, is that I was telling people that I was seeing an image. I tried to convince myself that I saw one. But nobody was seeing the same image. When a group of people looks at a 3D image, if you ask them afterwards what that image actually was, you get the same answer. If I look and see a kangaroo boxing, then when my daughter comes and looks she also sees a kangaroo boxing. And the next day, someone else looks, and also sees a kangaroo boxing. Same answer every time, and that’s how I know that nobody is faking being able to see it. We didn’t have to coach each other on what we saw, or tell anybody what they should expect to see, or spend time talking about how confident we are in the kangaroo. We are all just seeing an identical image. But nobody agrees on the image of “god” that pops into their heads. Every denomination has a different answer, and within each denomination people still have different images. If the image were of something real, I’d expect to be hearing the same answer from everybody.

    You had a powerful personal experience, and that’s fine for you. If you are happy, then go with it. But it’s unconvincing for me. If no two people are getting the same answer to what their “3D image” is, then I see to reason to assume that it is anything other than something going on in your own heads, with no reality outside that. Our brains are always looking for patterns, even where there are none. The test of whether there actually is a pattern present is whether people working independently of each other come up with the same answer. In religion, that doesn’t happen.

  • 18. Tim  |  February 16, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    I know people who have faked seeing the 3D image. I think there is a lot of manufactured emotion about this. I asked my pastor how many true Christians does he think are at our church. Not many, he said. I tend to agree.

    But amongst the people I do respect as believers and among the many Biblical characters, particularly in the NT, there is a consistency. Not in everything as even Paul and Peter had disagreement on issues. But there was consistency – an appetite for the Bible and for prayer. There is a change of heart to rectify any priorities that have been put before God and a move away from behaviors that are sinful. There is love and interest for people (particularly relevant for me cause I had little of that before). There is the desire and need for fellowship.

    As I said, I don’t take the Bible as inerrant. Maybe it is, I don’t know. Certainly there is a lot of debate and even wars over interpretations. But there is consistency on the above. Where does that come from if not from God?

    Thank you for the considerate response.

  • 19. Quester  |  February 16, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Tim,

    Hello and welcome! I hope that you have many of the joys I did as a Christian, and manage to avoid the hateful fearmongering that so often accompanies them.

    As for your points of consistency, let’s take a look at them, shall we?

    1) Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul.

    I suppose that two verses from the Old Testament that are quoted in the New Testament count as consistency. But what is meant by “the Lord your God”, and in what way does He wish to be loved? There is little to no consistency in the Bible about these matters. Does loving God mean following rules, living in fear, simply believing, feeding the hungry, causing others to follow rules, going through rituals, performing sacrifice? There are verses for and against most of these. And who is God? Is there only one? What can He do? What limits does He face? What can’t He do? Why does He do anything? The Bible goes from vague to contradictory in answering these questions.

    More to follow.

  • 20. Quester  |  February 16, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    2) an appetite for the Bible and for prayer

    Where do you get this from? An appetite for the Bible? No character in the Bible had a copy of the Bible. No, what you see in the Old Testament is a fearful seeking of explanations of what is happening and cries to God to make things better (often, but not always, partnered with stern declarations explaining why they are suffering, and calls to repent particular sins). In the New Testament, you have quotes of the Old (usually with serious misunderstandings about poetic devices, and occasional mistranslations), and prayers telling God the reasons He has for what is happening.

    3) There is a change of heart to rectify any priorities that have been put before God and a move away from behaviors that are sinful.

    That, I will grant you. Though which behaviours change drastically from Old to New, and have changed several times since. Are you familiar with the sin of usury? The motivations for this changing also changes.

    4) There is love and interest for people. There is the desire and need for fellowship.

    I’m going to tie these two together, as they are strongly related. I will also grant that they are consistent themes in the Bible.

    Where does that come from if not from God?

    Let me list some possibilities:

    i) Later writers of the books in the Bible had earlier books to reference, and made certain that their writings were consistent with ones previous.

    ii) When it came to choosing what books were to be included in the Bible, only books that were consistent on certain themes were chosen.

    iii) Themes about obeying God as the utmost priority gave power to those writing the Bible (who thus provided instruction on what “obeying God” meant).

    iv) Themes about interpersonal relationships and seeking fellowship are common in every single story ever written. Seriously, name me one fiction book that doesn’t have these themes. We are herd animals with limited empathy. Our stories are all about defining that herd, and increasing that empathy (at least, within the defined herd).

    I hope this helps.

  • 21. Tim  |  February 17, 2010 at 2:41 am

    Thanks for the welcome, Quester.

    Love the Lord your God – I think it is far more than just two verses. The explicit phrase ‘with all your heart’ turns up 23 times with some slight variances in the surrounding context. Moreover, looking implicitly, what books of the Bible do not have as a central theme the struggle to obey God? Do you see no consistency in actions/attitude between Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Daniel, etc…? They all put God first, above golden idols, above wealth or fame, above their own well being (some exceptions with David, for which he suffered).

    What does it mean to love God? That is a good question. What does it mean to love your spouse (or significant other)? There are a lot of answers to that. There is no formula. The above persons can serve as examples, but I think there is some personal variance as well. I have my regimen that feels right for me but I do hope to learn and grow in that respect just as I have learned and grown in my marriage. What I can say with certainty is that if anything else in your life takes first place – that which should be Gods – be it money, fame, career (this was my God before conversion), sex, drugs, even family or your marriage, then you are not loving God with all your heart and soul.

    I would be happy to delve more into the inconsistencies that you see if you have specifics? But, from my own experience, you can go on and on debating inconsistencies or contradictions in the Bible. As long as I focused on that, I never would have become a believer. When it came to me to look at the half full glass instead of the half empty one, my path to conversion came quickly.

    There are numerous, wonderful stories in the Bible. There are numerous characters. That is the half full part. But as to your claim of inconsistency, can you point to any two characters whose relationship with God is inconsistent with the others?

    (I will respond to your other note tomorrow)

  • 22. Quester  |  February 17, 2010 at 4:21 am

    The explicit phrase ‘with all your heart’ turns up 23 times with some slight variances in the surrounding context.

    Fair enough. A third of those times took place in the book of Deuteronomy, which is the only place I thought the phrase appeared in the Old Testement, to be quoted by Jesus in the Gospels (which accounts for another four of your 23). Another 5 of the twenty-three seem to have nothing to do with loving God, but I fully admit to glossing over the remaining 5 instances that this phrase appeared, outside of Deuteronomy and the Gospels.

    Not a really impressive count for an overarching central theme, but if you count “fear” and “obey” as synonyms of “love”, you’ll have a solid argument (if a very sad idea of what love is).

    They all put God first, above golden idols, above wealth or fame, above their own well being

    I conceded that much (#3 in post 20), but still argue that fear was much more the motivation than love for many of those characters.

    Do you see no consistency in actions/attitude between Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon, Daniel, etc…?

    I do. Do you see no inconsistencies in how God treated them? Punishing David’s children for his actions, deciding at the last minute that Moses’ most recent sin is unforgiveable, completely messing around with Abraham and all his descendents? Declaring Noah, Abraham and Moses righteous, and their enemies unrighteous, before giving any guidelines of righteousness to anyone? Completely jerking Saul around before deciding that kingship is a good idea and giving it to David?

    There is plenty of consistency in that people try to appease God, I grant you that. There is even some consistency on how. God’s responses, however, vary arbitrarily, leaving the Bible to read like an extended parable for an abusive relationship. But I doubt that’s the central commonality you’re reaching for.

    What does it mean to love God? That is a good question. What does it mean to love your spouse (or significant other)? There are a lot of answers to that. There is no formula.

    No formula is fine when dealing with a spouse who can give feedback. But when one person loves God by stoning homosexuals to death and another loves God by feeding the homeless, and one of the two may be damned to eternal torment (and both think its the other), a little bit of clarity would be nice.

    When it came to me to look at the half full glass instead of the half empty one, my path to conversion came quickly.

    My problem is that the cup is not half full and half empty; my problem is that the cup is half full of nourishing water, and half full of sickening poison (I feel I am being generous in my proportions, here, but see no profit in being mean spirited and thus will grant you half). Neither positive thinking nor a healthy outlook will allow me to only drink the healthy bits were I once again to lift that glass to my lips.

    There are numerous, wonderful stories in the Bible. There are numerous characters.

    I grant you both points, but prefer the works of Shakespeare for either quality. I don’t worship nor love the Bard, either. Nor do I see a need to.

    But as to your claim of inconsistency, can you point to any two characters whose relationship with God is inconsistent with the others?

    Not easily, I admit. I mean, Paul’s views were inconsistent with Peter’s and Jesus’ was inconsistent with Moses’, but to select two characters whose relationship was inconsistent with all the others? I suppose I’ll have to go with Adam and Eve.

    I will respond to your other note tomorrow

    Pleasant dreams.

  • 23. Quester  |  February 17, 2010 at 4:24 am

    Er, the 12th paragraph was supposed to start, “My problem is NOT that the cup is not half full and half empty; my problem is that the cup is half full of nourishing water, and half full of sickening poison”. Sorry for any confusion engendered.

  • 24. SnugglyBuffalo  |  February 17, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    When it came to me to look at the half full glass instead of the half empty one, my path to conversion came quickly.

    Maybe you need to stop focusing on one half of the glass at a time and try looking at the whole thing at once?

  • 25. Tim  |  February 18, 2010 at 2:39 am

    Quester,

    I am hearing the frustration of your experiences coming through. I was going to respond to your other points, but I think a long debate will probably waste a lot of time and accomplish nothing. If there is anything specific you want me to address, I will. But I cannot be an apologist for the entire Bible because I also have my doubts of its inerrancy. However, those doubts don’t preclude me from being Christian or to have been blessed with the Holy Spirit. I wish that upon everyone.

    You do not like the images of the Christian God that are in your mind, put there by others or created by yourself. You are obviously confident that the image you have is reasonable, derived from much thought and experience. I think you are also open minded enough to know you could have it wrong – like the state of science before the onset of relativity and quantum theory. New data can break down old theories and cause a re-think of our very foundations.

    That is my purpose in even responding. I will probably not nudge anyone towards God through debate. But I will try to clarify as best I can why the many sticking points that ‘de-converters’ bring up no longer keep me apart from God. Hopefully, that might soften that mental image. Though in the end, speaking as a former skeptic, if there is a God, He did create us. Can the creation have superior perspective over the Creator?

  • 26. Tim  |  February 18, 2010 at 3:04 am

    Snuggly,

    I’m not overlooking the half empty part. I just don’t dismiss everything because I don’t understand or even cringe over part of it. The Christians I respect all have ‘issues’ with the half empty side. I don’t believe in inerrancy – that is how I reconcile it, though I continue to earnestly seek for understanding on those matters. Those that do believe in inerrancy submit to God’s superiority – that the Creator has superior perspective over the creation. I respect that now but I didn’t before.

  • 27. Quester  |  February 18, 2010 at 3:15 am

    Tim,

    Fair enough. I’ve nothing I particularly need you to address, but I assume you’re here for a reason. Is there anything in particular you’d like to discuss?

  • 28. Robert Kingsley  |  February 25, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Hello Phil,

    Tim Keller wrote: “Here Luther says that failure to believe that God accepts us fully in Christ—and to look to something else for our salvation—is a failure to keep the first commandment; namely, having no other gods before him. To try to earn your own salvation through works-righteousness is breaking the first commandment. Then he says that we cannot truly keep any of the other laws unless we keep the first law—against idolatry and works-righteousness. Thus beneath any particular sin is this sin of rejecting Christ-salvation and indulging in self-salvation.”

    I think that your intelligence is your idol. You ask a lot of very good questions, but I detect it is tinged with a self suffiency in your mind.

  • 29. Phil Stilwell  |  February 25, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Hello Robert,

    It would make me happier if you would directly address my arguments rather than speculating on my intentions and tossing out unsubstantiated affirmations. Is that too much to ask?

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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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