Christian Commentary – Martyrdom is not a new occurrence nor one that is restricted to Christianity. We often hear news stories from Iraq of suicide bombers hoping to gain favor with God by offering themselves as sacrifices. So what about martyrs? What is so convincing about one’s faith that one would die for it?
One example of twentieth century Christian martyrs is the missionary Jim Elliot and his four co-workers Ed McCully, Roger Youderian, Pete Fleming, and Nate Saint. There were two recent movies made telling their story: End of the Spear and the documentary Beyond the Gates of Splendor. In 1956, these five men felt called to share the gospel with the Auca Indians of Ecuador, a violent indigenous people group who had never had friendly contact with the outside world. After a promising brief encounter including an airplane ride for one of the Waodoni (Auca) nicknamed George, they made plans to actually visit the tribe. During their journey they were ambushed and speared to death by ten Waodoni (Auca) men.
The thing that is astounding to me about this story is the reaction of their families. Two years later the wife and sister of two of the murdered missionaries, Elisabeth Elliot and Rachel Saint, went to live with and minister to the same people who had killed the ones they loved…
Well, I must say that I did not quite expect to get as many responses to the questions on my previous blog, A Curious Christian with a few questions for de-converts, as I did. Wow. Thank you for sharing your stories with me. After some careful study of your answers and thoughts, here’s what I think and what I think I hear some of you saying.
Some of you struggled with leaving your faith, others of you left easily. Some of you were happy as Christians, some of you were miserable. The Bible, for most, is not authoritative in any way, but instead full of contradictions and fantastic stories. Most of you have nothing against Christians, you just think that many of them are misguided. No one seemed to have a problem with Jesus (I can only think of one post where that was an exception). The hypocrisy of the church turns some of you off, the feeling of being lied to for others.
Some of you felt deserted by God and some of you just awakened from an untruth you thought you had been told, similar to finding out that Santa Claus wasn’t real. In some way you couldn’t reconcile conflicting parts of your faith so you decided that maybe the reason was that God wasn’t there to begin with. One of the most heart-wrenching statements I read was that you prayed for God to help your unbelief and He didn’t answer. Some of you feel like the foundation of your former faith only stood on the slippery slope of personal experience and not on fact.
Am I hearing you correctly? I hope I am. Please let me know if I missed something…
I am new to the whole blogging experience, and I really appreciate the opportunity to be a part of your discussions. I have seen so many great questions and valid points made here on the d-C Blog. This subject matter (former Christians who’ve decided to de-convert) is really interesting to me so if you have time to respond to a few questions, I would really appreciate your feedback.
Just as converting is a thoughtful, careful decision, de-converting seems to be the same type of process, and I am just trying to understand it.
- What usually starts the painful process of de-converting? How does one suddenly believe so strongly one way and then reject that belief the next? (Not to imply that it is a decision that one would ever take lightly or not struggle with for some time)
- Do de-cons often continue to attend a church? If so, why?
- Are de-cons open to returning to the faith or is that impossible?
- What is it that turns you off about Christianity the most? The Bible? Christians themselves? Jesus?
- What made you the most miserable as a Christian?
- What do you really currently think about Christians?…