My Journey Out of Christianity

Apocalyptic Genesis

 I was fed up, I was sick of the lies I was sick of putting my faith in pastors, theologians, academia and even the Bible itself. All I wanted to know was the truth and it became clear to me that I wasn’t going to get it from any man or woman. From my conversion in the year 2003 through the summer of 2008 I was the worst type of Christian, the type that tries to convert people 24 hours a day 7 days a week. By the fall of 2008 I had toned it down a bit because I became more liberal in my theology, also I had got into doctrines that were a little unorthodox but I still believed the Bible was the inerrant word of God. 

A few years into my new faith I got into apologetics and it was this that would later get me to question my faith. Apologetics is a branch of Christian theology which tries to provide rational justification of christian truth claims. As a christian apologist I felt I was good at proving the existence of God, the reliability of the Bible, and I could explain away any bible contradiction any critic could throw at the word of God. I was at the height of my faith I felt nothing could get me to question God, Christianity and the Bible. Boy was I wrong. The genesis of my doubting the word of God came one morning when I had just woke up and was laying in bed. I rolled over, grabbed the remote, turned on the TV and the channel happened to be on Comedy Central, the Daily Show was on.

Jon Stewart was interviewing New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman about his new book Misquoting Jesus. When the interview was done i felt like i had just been punched in the gut by a heavyweight boxer, no one had assaulted Christianity like this man and until then no one had ever made me question my faith. I didn’t stop believing that minute but it did plant a seed that would later blossom into disbelief.

What was said

What was different about this interview was not that Ehrman was attacking the credibility of the Bible itself but because he made the one argument that I had already made up in my mind that if someone could show this one thing I would then begin to question my faith. By the time i saw the Bart Ehrman interview I was familiar with textual criticism, in fact i had started to study the subject before i had even heard of Bart Ehrman. I already knew of arguments challenging the bibles authenticity and how scribes who copied the bible would often make grammatical errors or would sometimes accidentally omit certain biblical passages. To me these mistakes could easily be explained away as human error, this wasn’t done with malicious intent and to suggest otherwise was to be dishonest I thought at the time.

As the interview went on i became increasingly uncomfortable as Bart said certain things i found to be incredible to my feeble christian mind. He mentioned how certain bible passages aren’t found in the earliest manuscripts of the new testament, for example it would shock many Christians to find out that the story of the woman caught in adultery found in John 7:53-8:11 is not found in the earliest copies of the gospel of John as well as the last twelve verses of the gospel of Mark are not found in the earliest copies of his gospel either. When he said this i immediately searched this matter out and found that it is true as even Christian sources admitted that these things were true though they were quick to add this does nothing to cast doubt on the reliably on the message of Jesus and doctrines such as the trinity. I believed this lie and held onto my christian faith for a little while longer.

Mental Fatigue

Years after I thought I dodged the Bart Ehrman bullet by the fall of 2009 I was again questioning my faith. By this time I had grown considerably in the faith, not spiritually but intellectually. What I mean by I had grown intellectually is that I had stopped with the christian rhetoric, at first when I conversed with a nonbeliever on religious topics I would just spit catchphrases like “Jesus saves” or “turn or burn” and quote my favorite bible verses. That had changed I could now defend my belief in God and the Bible intellectually without the name-calling and sounding like a hell fire preacher, rarely anything could get me uncomfortable because at this point in time I had heard nearly all objections to Christianity and these arguments didn’t phase me one bit, in fact I found them elementary.

But with intellectual growth comes critical thinking, I had grown to love philosophy and I had memorized a number of logical fallacies so that when I debated someone I could point out the flaw in their logic. What I did not expect was that logic would get me to question the whole of christian theology. The more I thought about it the more Christianity didn’t make any sense, for example how could God allow Satan to destroy his whole creative plan when he is all-powerful  and could snuff out Satan with just a thought. If Satan was so dangerous why couldn’t God keep him from entering the garden of Eden to keep Adam and Eve from being tempted to eat the forbidden fruit? Better yet why did God create Satan in the first place? Even more dastardly there was no situation in which i could fully absolve God for why their was evil in the world except one – free will theism – so i hung onto that belief with all my might.

Then there was the Bible the one book Christians can take solace in. I all the sudden became frustrated with this book, I mean why are their so many seeming contradictions. The book of Acts tells the story of the conversion of Paul three times and yet all three accounts contradict one another on what the travelers with Paul both saw and heard. Acts 9:7 says, “they stood speechless hearing the voice. Acts 22:9 says, “they did not hear the voice.” Which is it did they hear the voice or not? These are just examples of things that bothered me and by this time i was mentally fatigued. I was tired of defending the Bible, in  my mind I would often ask God why couldn’t he have created a book that was clear cut and didn’t need defending? Most importantly why were the stories in the Bible so obviously silly to me now? A talking snake and donkey, the sun standing still in the book of Joshua, a whole faith built upon a man rising from the dead with no evidence except for a book that could have so easily been corrupted which was proved by the the adding of the story of the woman caught in adultery and the last twelve verses of Mark. I had enough I was no longer going to believe this stuff until God himself told me these things were true, so one night I got on my knees and prayed.

The Prayer

On the night that changed my life forever I got on my knees to pray. Even as a christian I rarely got on my knees to pray but tonight was different because I was losing my faith and I wanted to tell God why. In my heart I still wanted to believe in Christianity It was just that I was at a point where I was so unsure if Christianity was the true religion that no man could give me the satisfaction of knowing Christianity was true, only God could and the only way I would go on believing was if God himself told me it was true. So as I prayed I asked God to show me what the truth was.

I finally admitted that I did not know what the truth was only he did, I said that this world is so confusing, there are numerous religions claiming to be the truth and I didn’t know who to believe. I told God that If I go to hell it will be his fault because he didn’t protect the Bible from scribal errors and seeming contradictions which gave me doubts that his word could be trusted. While I was somewhat sure Christianity was true and any minute now God would give me a vision I opened myself up to call out to other Gods of different religions but sadly none of these Gods or their prophets showed themselves to me to tell me which religion was true. This lead me down the path to agnosticism and I could quickly see atheism approaching.

The light bulb goes off

Agnosticism didn’t mean I questioned the existence of God I was confident some God existed and created this realm I just didn’t know the identity of this God. I have always questioned scientific and philosophical materialism even after I left Christianity I believed that human beings did have souls and lived on after death so it was no surprised I ended up studying near death experiences (NDE). By 2010 I felt intellectually naked, I didn’t have any religious beliefs but I was still searching for this elusive thing called truth.

One day while thinking about If I could possibly ever find out the truth a feeling came over me and urged me to look into NDE’s. For the next few weeks or so I ate up every NDE story I could find, I was already somewhat familiar with NDE’s, the reason I didn’t take them seriously is because I knew people who have had NDE’s would talk about things that Christianity did not support, things like reincarnation and a spiritual resurrection. But at this moment I don’t have any beliefs so I continued to read these individuals personal NDE stories and I noticed they mostly sounded the same and had a common theme. A lot of the things these people were saying came off as scientifically sound and I just knew I couldn’t blow this off I was onto something, I was slowly but surely discovering the truth.

Ahh, I found it

After months of studying these NDE stories in detail I was in deep thought and another feeling came over me, this time it urged me to check to see if any religions matched up with what I had found in NDE’s. I knew the religion I was looking for had to be a long lost ancient religion because I knew of no religion today that supports both reincarnation and resurrection because in most western religions it’s either one or the other. So I immediately went on the net and looked up Christianity and reincarnation I found a ton of great information and became convinced that early in it’s history reincarnation and Christianity co-existed in harmony. I also found information that connected a lot of dots and made certain things make sense.

A lot of the information I found sounded a lot like an obscure religious group who I had heard of before, Christians call them a heretical sect so I did more research on this ancient long gone distant memory religion and at every turn I found that this long lost religion says everything people who have had NDE’s say even the most minute and meaningless details were the same. This is it i exclaimed, I have found the religion, I have found the truth. This is what this blog is about it’s about what I have so far uncovered on my way to finding the truth. God had just answered my prayer,  just not in the way I wanted him to.