Posts tagged ‘faith’
Recently, Rachel posed this question on her post “A Curious Christian with A Few Questions for de-cons“:
Are de-cons open to returning to the faith or is that impossible?
Here are a few of the responses from d-C contributors and readers:
I try to remain open to returning to my old faith, but am seeing less and less possibility as time goes on and searches prove unfruitful.
I’m open to learning new things and changing my mind. However, after studying and seeking for over 40 years, I really doubt that I will suddenly discover that God is real. - writerdd
Sort of like asking Christians if they are open to new religions, is it not? Only in this case we are people who have at least admitted that we are capable of changing our minds on the subject. The problem is that this question implies that this was a conscious decision on our parts. For myself, and most here, it isn’t. If the evidence in support of whatever version of Christianity is strong enough, I am sure I would accept it – as a former apologeticist, I have only found that it fails in every historical and philosophical aspect known to myself. - TheApostate…
In The End of Faith, Sam Harris argues that faith is unreasonable, and the cause of much of our present world turmoil (bar natural disasters). I have struggled with my faith and my beliefs have undergone radical changes in a short period of time. Presently, I have been looking at the nature of consciousness and the purpose of myth, these being incredibly fascinating areas. It took a great deal of time to let go of ‘the God out there’, yet once gone I was not saddened. What I now consider an inferior idea was replaced with the notion of ‘the ground of our being’. I no longer care to seek to experience God in religion, for the experience of life is far more enriching. This means that faith in God is entirely unnecessary, and however I name my experience of life is an arbitrary construction.
As such, I am more and more coming to the position, like Sam Harris, that religion itself requires deconstruction. The whole system is flawed and really should just be pulled apart. Depth and meaning, or sacredness and spirituality, can still flow through the culture without the necessity for institutions to administer it. I was never really into institutional religion even through my Christian years. I viewed my simple faith and pentecostal experiences to be superior to the extra baggage that seemed to be carried in other traditions. Still, that did not make me irreligious, just skeptical of the validity of the other forms. As I moved through my deconstruction process, I have tried to remain as open-minded as possible to the potential good that could still exist in the religious traditions, particularly Christianity. Unfortunately, it seems the negatives far outweigh the positives when it comes to the contribution that religion makes today.
I guess the most pertinent question to ask is, how useful is religion?…
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:
- 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%).
- The realisation that religious dogma contradicted observable reality was
the second mostan equally common reason for de-conversion cited within the sample (also at 14.89%).
- 12.76% of the de-converted Christians in the sample spoke about realising the contradictions within the dogma itself.
- For 10.63% of people in the sample, reading the bible was significant in ending their faith.
- Only 8.51% of people in the sample attributed their de-conversion to the hypocrisy of the church.
- 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
- And finally, stumbling across the realisation that many religions were just like theirs caused deep doubts for 8.5% of the sample he read…
As an atheist, it always surprises me that people seriously believe that god really will answer their prayers. Perhaps it’s something you have to be religious in order to comprehend. But some people pray, and pray, and pray, until as one individual put it:
The following examples are from the 8.51% of the de-conversion stories, amongst the sample I read, in which people tried to speak to god, and they now credit god’s lack of an answer for their de-conversion.
“Being very eager to please, I would often beg Jesus to save me. Expecting trumpets and angels, or at the very least a pat on the head, and getting nothing, I think I just eventually realised god wasn’t going to answer.”
For some the experience of god failing to answer their prayers as promised was a highly distressing experience:
In high school, I gradually started to question more, but did not get satisfactory answers. My prayers for clarity and a stronger faith went unanswered. Why would God let my faith slip? That was the question that haunted me for years…
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…