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[ Testimony ] How I left the faith

T. E. Smith

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[Copy-pasted with very slight modification from several other places on the internet. My point in posting this is not to disparage believers, but to share my personal story and to help people understand the thought process of at least one person who has de-converted. I attempt to show a respect for the Bible and Christianity.]

My whole life I have continually talked to God and asked him many things. I heard from many Christians that God does listen to prayers and that he responds to us in our hearts. But I never felt anything, ever. Not even many years before I even began to doubt my faith.

My parents and pastor told me I needed to be convicted of my sin. But I believed in my sin, that wasn't the issue. When I asked them what my sin was, they told me that only God knows. I asked them how I could find out what my sin was, if I was unable to ask God to convict me. They could not answer.

A Sunday school teacher told me I probably didn't have enough faith, so I asked him how I could get more. He told me to ask God for more faith. I said, "How can I ask God for more faith if I need more faith for him to respond?" He could not answer me. To date I have not found answers to these questions.

Why don't I believe? There's a logical and emotional side to it. First, the logical side. When I was taking a dual-credit college class in high school on world history, the teacher was speaking of the rise of Islam. He said, "The best way to learn about the Koran is to read it." Agreeing with that sentiment, I read it through. When I was done I thought, "That was in a lot of ways similar to the Bible." Then I thought, "Islam is the second-largest world religion. Many many people believe this to be the word of the one true God. But I have never even considered Islam. Why not? Why am I a Christian and not a Muslim?"

Mark Twain's words rang true, "The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also." I realized I only believed because my parents had taught me to believe. That wasn't good enough for me. If I had Muslim parents, I'd be a Muslim. I needed a real reason to believe.

I read biblical apologetics books and counter-apologetics, and found the apologist case to be severely lacking. I saw through most of the holes before even reading the rebuttals. At this point in time, I was also reading other holy books (the Hindu books, the Dharma from Buddhism, and the analects of Confucius). I began to see the Tanakh not as a Christian "Old Testament" but as the Jewish scriptures. Reading these books opened my mind to other religions, and I saw that Christianity's morality was not unique. Much of it was taught elsewhere.

I read Thomas Paine's Age of Reason (freely available on the internet) and was convicted of the Bible's lack of integrity. Paine made me laugh and cry as I found my beliefs deconstructed. I became a deist, a believer in a creator God unassociated with religion. I realized that the default position should be non-belief without a reason to believe, and I had only one reason left to believe in God: creation. How could all of this be created without a God?

I knew I had been inculcated in anti-evolution sentiment. If I had abandoned Christianity, I could also abandon creationism, right? Well, first I had to read the case of evolution. I read Darwin's Origin, now my favorite book of all time. I read The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins, Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne, Evolution by Donald Prothero, Your Inner Fish and The Universe Within by Neil Shubin, a couple of books by Stephen Jay Gould, and finally the more complex book The Red Queen by Michael Ridley. After reading these books, the mountain of evidence convinced me completely. No longer having any reason to believe in God, I became an atheist.

Now the emotional side. Like I said, I talked to God for a long time. Over my deconversion process (thinking about other religions, reading Age of Reason and considering evolution's effect on theism), I actually talked to God even more, even more frantically. It was like when a lifelong friend is moving away, and you try to spend as much time with them as possible. But there was nothing, still. There never has been. I came to the crushing conclusion that I had been dreadfully wrong. I had been speaking to an imaginary friend since I'd learned how to talk. I said goodbye to God.

And then, when I became an atheist, I was suddenly liberated. I realized that the Bible did not have to dictate my morality. I could freely question the Bible's integrity. I could freely question creationism. Actually, I could freely question anything. Atheism has liberated my mind, and I would never go back.
 

stovebolts

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Thanks for your testimony and your honesty, as well as the respect you have shown us. There have been a great many Atheists before you that have not been so generous.

I think, in part, that the things that were told to you at a young age were lacking but I would like to think that their hearts were in the right place. Personally, I have a hard time looking to far up at any person on this planet. They will always let you down if you put them up on a pedi stool. We’re all broken, everyone of us, even the ones we look at, or admire or seek direction from.

In Shemot, Moses asked God who he should say sent him when asked. God replied, I am. This is very deep from a Jewish point of view and they take this to mean, “I will be who you need me to be”. Do not mistake that for, I will be who you want me to be, which is very much the case with many of us.

In your case, God isn’t and was t who you wanted him to be, nor may he ever. Yet he will be who you need him to be, even if you say, “I am an Atheist”.

You’re young, very well articulated and seem to have a goodness about you. You don’t know where your faith will be in 5, 10 or even 20 years ago. But wherever you are, God will continue to be who he needs to be for you.

As far as the other parts of your post, I certainly understand much of what you’ve gone through and I can only ask you this one thing. Be kind, and don’t have the urge to “have” to be right. Encourage others to be the best they can be, and show compassion for those who lack the courtesy to treat you in kind.

God bless

Jeff
 

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I heard from many Christians that God does listen to prayers and that he responds to us in our hearts. But I never felt anything, ever
Unfortunately, many Christians never felt anything either. I understand why someone who doesn't feel anything would become an atheist. As I wrote on my webpage, peace is the sign we are on the right track. Belief is next to useless. Do we need to believe in fire to feel warm around a bonfire? No! We feel the warmth and there is no questioning the very existence of fire!

Many many people believe this to be the word of the one true God. But I have never even considered Islam. Why not? Why am I a Christian and not a Muslim?"
Most Christians are convinced the Bible is the one true word of God but this is not what Jesus meant.

Mark Twain's words rang true, "The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also." I realized I only believed because my parents had taught me to believe. That wasn't good enough for me. If I had Muslim parents, I'd be a Muslim. I needed a real reason to believe.
The folly is to think of a point of view as an absolute. I am Christian but I have no doubt Islam is also a very good religion -- if understood with enough depth...

If you live in Los Angeles and you want to go to Chicago, you have to head East. If you live in New York, you have to head west to go to Chicago. The directions are opposite yet both paths are correct.

After reading these books, the mountain of evidence convinced me completely. No longer having any reason to believe in God, I became an atheist.
I would be curious to know just one alleged proof that God doesn't exist. Can you give me your best shot?

I view atheism as yet another belief. Whether someone believes God exists or they don't, it's always a belief. The only rational stand is to feel God's peace, then you have no doubt, or not to feel God's peace, they you don't know. Just like never seeing a cheetah doesn't prove cheetahs don't exist, not feeling God's peace doesn't prove They don't exist. Not being able to answer theoretical questions doesn't prove God doesn't exist either. I too quit believing -- when I was seven -- because faith the way it was explained to me didn't make any sense. I later practiced meditation and I did feel peace on a daily basis. When I merged with God, I knew where the peace came from. But I can't say I believe. There is a fine line between knowing and believing. I would never request anyone who doesn't feel anything to believe. It would be as naive and pointless as saying 'believe in fire and you'll be warm'. What someone needs to be warm is not to believe in fire, it is merely to sit next to a fire.
 

T. E. Smith

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The folly is to think of a point of view as an absolute. I am Christian but I have no doubt Islam is also a very good religion -- if understood with enough depth...
OK interesting, that's not the Christianity I ever learned or seen in the Bible.
I would be curious to know just one alleged proof that God doesn't exist. Can you give me your best shot?
First of all I said I have no reason to believe in God. Thus I am a de facto atheist. I reject belief in God not because there are reasons to reject it, but because there is no reason to believe it.

Second, though, there are four arguments I have used:
  • God is hidden - God refrains from telling humanity his plan. Why? There are many Christian and Muslim sects. Why, if God has a single plan and message for the world?
    • Defense: Free will. But this does not explain why followers of false religions get conflicting, inconsistent messages. Isn't God not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33)? If God communicates us through our conscience, why do people reach so many different moral conclusions?
    • The fact is that no god, past or present, speaks to, interacts with, or is involved at all in human affairs.
  • God does nothing - We are told that God is a loving god, but the truth is that he does nothing to stop injustices.
    • Defense: God will make all right in the end. But 1) there is no evidence for it, 2) the world looks just like it would if God would not make all right, and 3) do the ends justify the means?
  • No evidence - There is no evidence for God. This would take too long for me to document so I will just give two links: Goldstein's counterarguments to the arguments for the existence of God www.randomhouse.com/pantheon/authors/goldstein/36%20Arguments.pdf and an ex-youth pastor's extensive analysis https://docs.google.com/document/d/1f6ZewV_Ro5HLixACGE_wgJrnlFNVKVxTfuVALqARNEs/edit?hl=en_US
  • Inconsistent universe - the universe we are in now is inconsistent with most versions of theism, including Christianity.
 

T. E. Smith

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If you live in Los Angeles and you want to go to Chicago, you have to head East. If you live in New York, you have to head west to go to Chicago. The directions are opposite yet both paths are correct.
"All paths lead to God" is a neat idea, but of course Jesus said "no one comes to the father except through me," and an analogy itself does not prove anything.
 

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[Copy-pasted with very slight modification from several other places on the internet. My point in posting this is not to disparage believers, but to share my personal story and to help people understand the thought process of at least one person who has de-converted. I attempt to show a respect for the Bible and Christianity.]

......

Respectfully done. In a sense, I left God, too, that is, the God the rest who try to tell me who He is. Consequently, I have what many consider erroneous beliefs, but that which I consider biblical nonetheless. A few points I found helpful in my walk:

1) The passage that says "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God..." not praying for it. So the Sunday School teacher is no more a light than you think of yourself. As a matter of fact, such a person may be more deluded.

2) The whole basis for the Christian faith is asking who Jesus Christ was? If there is no resurrection, there is no faith. So one has to reason out what became of the body why there's an empty tomb. If we can settle that question, than what did he say about things?

3) The Lord calls whom He will. One cannot have faith unless God calls them. That leads to a bunch of silly arguments predestination vs free choice and "why does God predestine a person to eternal torment?" (more on that later) The answer is He does not. Only a few are called out in this age, the rest later. So it's more of a timing issue. God will give everyone the chance, and yours may not have arrived yet.

4) I never believe anyone who says they are an atheist, because that is just as much of a dogmatic statement as one who assuredly affirms there is a God. If one is honest with themselves, they are really agnostic, i.e. they are not sure what to believe.

I'll tell you what scientists have as hard of time answering as your Sunday School teacher did. First a little background. We all heard that puzzle asking if a tree fell in the forest, but there was nobody around to hear it, does it still make a sound? Of course we know it does. What we hear are sound waves. So now the next question is if planets orbit, for all practical purposes according to Kepler's Laws, if there is no man to calculate it, do they still orbit according to the Laws of physics? Of course. Those laws are independent of mankind. The problem is, the laws obey the idea of a mathematical concept, something only a being can do. So who is thinking this out? Why does matter in effect do a mathematical equation even though it has no mind? Where there's a Law, there is a Lawgiver. Scientists cannot answer that, but IF they embrace the idea of a God, they sometimes say that the universe and all matter is a God unto itself. Fair enough. But we then have to admit one thing about this God. It must think (there is indeed a being, so be kind to the chair you are sitting on), it's omnipresent, at least in our observable universe as these laws are all over, and lastly, it's omnipotent as all of it forces all matter and energy to obey them. As Einstein said, "The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it's comprehensible." He said what I just did in one profound sentence.

I find two major points that atheists base their argument against God. It's not the only points, but they seem to crop up more than other points.

1) If God is all loving, then why is there evil in this world? Well, the Lord said that this would happen with disobedience. But, the good side of it all is to promise restoration-- it will be made good again. This way the bad and good can be learned from and compared, and yet preserving mankind with free choice. If there is no God, then the hope is lost indeed, the bad guy can win forever, and nothing is solved. I think that after thousands of years, we should learn to live with each other by now if it were possible. So just as a side note here, rejecting God because things are bad does not solve the problems. So it begs the question if one is really rejecting the existence of God because of all the evil, or is one really rejecting God's presence, like one who can no longer stand a partner who they think is at fault and just leaves?

2) God does not assign anyone to an eternal torment in hell. I know what you are thinking. He's going to tell me one chooses to go there. Well, yeah, that's partly correct, but the fire of hell I often wonder if that's not the renovation of the earth the bible talks about. Perhaps an asteroid will hit it and burn everything up. However, God grants people eternal life. Man is inherently mortal like the animals. If he dies in his sins, he dies. It's called perishing. Well, what about fire? That's the means of judgment as (did you know?) Jesus taught everyone will be resurrected. Some to eternal life, others to eternal death. As the chaff is burned off, so is anyone who faces God alone and burns up as no mere human can face God and live. Although it's not in the bible, this is Shekinah glory. The bible talks more about the fire of God. It's (as Spock would say) pure energy. Not trying to downplay this, but what if the Lord faced everyone in love but that person, being without the Spirit, burns up in his presence? So, one can conclude if one is suffering forever, they are not dead (as some would like to redefine the definition of death as a Godless eternity), but rather eternal life in torment.

So these are some considerations I thought about. There's one pastor (now deceased) who grew up with an assembly of God background which his father was pastor. He rebelled early and as he went to college changed his major at almost every turn. He became agnostic. But he is known under the title "A philosopher looks at Christ" and debated within himself my point #2 above. He came to a firm faith in Christ and managed to get worldwide satellite networks and Shortwave stations all over the place. Mind you, he came to this biblical faith himself and was not conventional at all. People often criticized him and hated the idea he was teaching the bible with a cigar in his mouth. He joked it would bother the self-righteous people. But the common man would listen to him because he did not have highfalutin religiosity to push. Name was Dr. Gene Scott. For all you know, you may be the next one when God calls you and the timing is right.

Good luck with everything.
 

T. E. Smith

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1) The passage that says "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God..." not praying for it. So the Sunday School teacher is no more a light than you think of yourself. As a matter of fact, such a person may be more deluded.
I read the Bible so many times. 90% of Christians in America admit they have not read the whole Bible. I have read the Bible seven times through and counting, and I have also read it in individual sections on my own, and we have read it together as a family through once, AND I have heard it nearly every week of my life at church. So yes I have heard the Word of God.
2) The whole basis for the Christian faith is asking who Jesus Christ was? If there is no resurrection, there is no faith. So one has to reason out what became of the body why there's an empty tomb. If we can settle that question, than what did he say about things?
There was no empty tomb. Mark "invented" it as a metaphor, it shows not only the conquest of death, but Christ's ascension—and the fact that he is the Christ. He draws on Psalm 24 for it. All other gospels use Mark, but interpreted him literally.
3) The Lord calls whom He will. One cannot have faith unless God calls them. That leads to a bunch of silly arguments predestination vs free choice and "why does God predestine a person to eternal torment?" (more on that later) The answer is He does not. Only a few are called out in this age, the rest later. So it's more of a timing issue. God will give everyone the chance, and yours may not have arrived yet.
I do not think the Bible teaches that one cannot have faith without God's calling, nor that God predestines. Nor do I think it teaches postmortem evangelism.
I never believe anyone who says they are an atheist, because that is just as much of a dogmatic statement as one who assuredly affirms there is a God. If one is honest with themselves, they are really agnostic, i.e. they are not sure what to believe.
I call myself an agnostic atheist. By that I mean, I don't believe in God and have some fair confidence of his nonexistence, but I am not certain of that fact. By the way there are also agnostic theists.
I'll tell you what scientists have as hard of time answering as your Sunday School teacher did. First a little background. We all heard that puzzle asking if a tree fell in the forest, but there was nobody around to hear it, does it still make a sound? Of course we know it does. What we hear are sound waves. So now the next question is if planets orbit, for all practical purposes according to Kepler's Laws, if there is no man to calculate it, do they still orbit according to the Laws of physics? Of course. Those laws are independent of mankind. The problem is, the laws obey the idea of a mathematical concept, something only a being can do. So who is thinking this out? Why does matter in effect do a mathematical equation even though it has no mind? Where there's a Law, there is a Lawgiver. Scientists cannot answer that, but IF they embrace the idea of a God, they sometimes say that the universe and all matter is a God unto itself. Fair enough. But we then have to admit one thing about this God. It must think (there is indeed a being, so be kind to the chair you are sitting on), it's omnipresent, at least in our observable universe as these laws are all over, and lastly, it's omnipotent as all of it forces all matter and energy to obey them. As Einstein said, "The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it's comprehensible." He said what I just did in one profound sentence.
What does it mean to say that God created the world, caused the world? We define creation and cause in terms of natural laws (e.g., my elbow caused this vase to fall), but without a universe there are no natural laws. We extend cause into a realm where we don't know how to use it. (Credit for this argument goes to David Hume.)
2) God does not assign anyone to an eternal torment in hell. I know what you are thinking. He's going to tell me one chooses to go there. Well, yeah, that's partly correct, but the fire of hell I often wonder if that's not the renovation of the earth the bible talks about. Perhaps an asteroid will hit it and burn everything up. However, God grants people eternal life. Man is inherently mortal like the animals. If he dies in his sins, he dies. It's called perishing. Well, what about fire? That's the means of judgment as (did you know?) Jesus taught everyone will be resurrected. Some to eternal life, others to eternal death. As the chaff is burned off, so is anyone who faces God alone and burns up as no mere human can face God and live. Although it's not in the bible, this is Shekinah glory. The bible talks more about the fire of God. It's (as Spock would say) pure energy. Not trying to downplay this, but what if the Lord faced everyone in love but that person, being without the Spirit, burns up in his presence? So, one can conclude if one is suffering forever, they are not dead (as some would like to redefine the definition of death as a Godless eternity), but rather eternal life in torment.
Eternal life in torment is definitely not a biblical phrase, but it sounds pretty horrible. If there was a bug in your house, would you let it live (I would if it is not dangerous), kill it quickly (which I would do if it is dangerous), or let it suffer in torment for as long as possible?

Thank you for the extensive answer.
 

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nconsistent universe -
An interesting account, one of the interesting points was your lack of any books , authors that attempted to demonstrate the case for God, Christiaity etc.
Was that because your mind was already made up?
You are aware of William lane Craigs web site reasonablefaith and his arguments for Christianity.

I assume by inconsistant universe you mean not consistant with Christianity. Which is strange because without Christianity science as we know and love, simple does not work.
The universe has a begining, science says the big bang, so what caused it to begin?
Science depends on the Christian ideas that the universe is a reflection of Gods character, that it is consistent, reasonable and that we can investigate and explore it.

May I suggest one challenge.

That you read lee strobels the case for Christ, or look into his resurrection.
 

T. E. Smith

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An interesting account, one of the interesting points was your lack of any books , authors that attempted to demonstrate the case for God, Christiaity etc.
Was that because your mind was already made up?
You are aware of William lane Craigs web site reasonablefaith and his arguments for Christianity.

May I suggest one challenge.

That you read lee strobels the case for Christ, or look into his resurrection.
Yes, I have read The Case for Christ, and the rebuttal, The Case Against the Case for Christ (a mouthful) by Robert Price. I considered Strobel's argument an utter failure. I've also read works by Richard Carrier. William Lane Craig is not reasonable. In a debate he was asked,

"Dr. Craig, for the sake of argument let’s pretend that a time machine gets built. You and I hop in it, and travel back to the day before Easter, 33 AD. We park it outside the tomb of Jesus. We wait. Easter morning rolls around, and nothing happens. We continue to wait. After several weeks of waiting, still nothing happens. There is no resurrection- Jesus is quietly rotting away in the tomb." Would Craig continue to believe? His reply was striking.

He said that he would still believe and that the internal witness of the holy spirit trumps any and all external evidence against Christianity.

At the beginning of his book, Craig wrote, "When a person refuses to come to Christ it is never just because of lack of evidence or because of intellectual difficulties: at root, he refuses to come because he willingly ignores and rejects the drawing of God’s Spirit on his heart. No one in the final analysis really fails to become a Christian because of lack of arguments; he fails to become a Christian because he loves darkness rather than light and wants nothing to do with God."

These are not the words of a reasonable man. They are the false, offensive words of a fundamentalist who obviously doesn't know what he's talking about.
 

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Respectfully done. In a sense, I left God, too, that is, the God the rest who try to tell me who He is. Consequently, I have what many consider erroneous beliefs, but that which I consider biblical nonetheless. A few points I found helpful in my walk:
... But the common man would listen to him because he did not have highfalutin religiosity to push. Name was Dr. Gene Scott. For all you know, you may be the next one when God calls you and the timing is right.
Good luck with everything.
Preachers, laymen, they'll be seen
to be upset, or acting mean.
Musicians must not play too loud!
-?????????- like that worldly crowd.

I don't like
The picture some folks paint.
I don't like
Of how to be a saint.
They say do do this and don't do that
And then God will love you
I don't like
I don't like
I don't like it! ...
God don't like it too!
 
Last edited:

journeyman

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[Copy-pasted with very slight modification from several other places on the internet. My point in posting this is not to disparage believers, but to share my personal story and to help people understand the thought process of at least one person who has de-converted. I attempt to show a respect for the Bible and Christianity.]

My whole life I have continually talked to God and asked him many things. I heard from many Christians that God does listen to prayers and that he responds to us in our hearts. But I never felt anything, ever. Not even many years before I even began to doubt my faith.

My parents and pastor told me I needed to be convicted of my sin. But I believed in my sin, that wasn't the issue. When I asked them what my sin was, they told me that only God knows. I asked them how I could find out what my sin was, if I was unable to ask God to convict me. They could not answer.

A Sunday school teacher told me I probably didn't have enough faith, so I asked him how I could get more. He told me to ask God for more faith. I said, "How can I ask God for more faith if I need more faith for him to respond?" He could not answer me. To date I have not found answers to these questions.

Why don't I believe? There's a logical and emotional side to it. First, the logical side. When I was taking a dual-credit college class in high school on world history, the teacher was speaking of the rise of Islam. He said, "The best way to learn about the Koran is to read it." Agreeing with that sentiment, I read it through. When I was done I thought, "That was in a lot of ways similar to the Bible." Then I thought, "Islam is the second-largest world religion. Many many people believe this to be the word of the one true God. But I have never even considered Islam. Why not? Why am I a Christian and not a Muslim?"

Mark Twain's words rang true, "The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also." I realized I only believed because my parents had taught me to believe. That wasn't good enough for me. If I had Muslim parents, I'd be a Muslim. I needed a real reason to believe.

I read biblical apologetics books and counter-apologetics, and found the apologist case to be severely lacking. I saw through most of the holes before even reading the rebuttals. At this point in time, I was also reading other holy books (the Hindu books, the Dharma from Buddhism, and the analects of Confucius). I began to see the Tanakh not as a Christian "Old Testament" but as the Jewish scriptures. Reading these books opened my mind to other religions, and I saw that Christianity's morality was not unique. Much of it was taught elsewhere.

I read Thomas Paine's Age of Reason (freely available on the internet) and was convicted of the Bible's lack of integrity. Paine made me laugh and cry as I found my beliefs deconstructed. I became a deist, a believer in a creator God unassociated with religion. I realized that the default position should be non-belief without a reason to believe, and I had only one reason left to believe in God: creation. How could all of this be created without a God?

I knew I had been inculcated in anti-evolution sentiment. If I had abandoned Christianity, I could also abandon creationism, right? Well, first I had to read the case of evolution. I read Darwin's Origin, now my favorite book of all time. I read The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins, Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne, Evolution by Donald Prothero, Your Inner Fish and The Universe Within by Neil Shubin, a couple of books by Stephen Jay Gould, and finally the more complex book The Red Queen by Michael Ridley. After reading these books, the mountain of evidence convinced me completely. No longer having any reason to believe in God, I became an atheist.

Now the emotional side. Like I said, I talked to God for a long time. Over my deconversion process (thinking about other religions, reading Age of Reason and considering evolution's effect on theism), I actually talked to God even more, even more frantically. It was like when a lifelong friend is moving away, and you try to spend as much time with them as possible. But there was nothing, still. There never has been. I came to the crushing conclusion that I had been dreadfully wrong. I had been speaking to an imaginary friend since I'd learned how to talk. I said goodbye to God.

And then, when I became an atheist, I was suddenly liberated. I realized that the Bible did not have to dictate my morality. I could freely question the Bible's integrity. I could freely question creationism. Actually, I could freely question anything. Atheism has liberated my mind, and I would never go back.
It's strange how we perceive ourselves and in so doing ask of God.
Personally, I never needed to ask anyone what I wanted to be forgiven for. I knew what my sins were.
Of course any person who desires to have prayer answered must believe in God, or at least hope God exists.
I laid in bed one night sobbing. I was an addict. My mind was so convoluted I could barely hold a conversation. I'd heard about Jesus. I said, "Lord, if you're real, help me, and I'll follow you. I'm at the end of my rope." That was my prayer.
I had a small apartment and a junker car that got me to my job as a dishwasher. One night while leaving for work my car wouldn't start, so I started hitching. A car loaded with people picked me up and drove me the restaurant. Along the way, a girl named Mary asked if I believed in Jesus. Before they dropped me off, I gave Mary my address because she wanted to talk to me about Jesus.
When I got home, I was about to go inside, but looked over at my car. I got in, turnedthe ignition and it started right up.
It didn't occur to me that our Lord heard me. Mary came over the next day.
 

T. E. Smith

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It's strange how we perceive ourselves and in so doing ask of God.
Personally, I never needed to ask anyone what I wanted to be forgiven for. I knew what my sins were.
Of course any person who desires to have prayer answered must believe in God, or at least hope God exists.
I laid in bed one night sobbing. I was an addict. My mind was so convoluted I could barely hold a conversation. I'd heard about Jesus. I said, "Lord, if you're real, help me, and I'll follow you. I'm at the end of my rope." That was my prayer.
I had a small apartment and a junker car that got me to my job as a dishwasher. One night while leaving for work my car wouldn't start, so I started hitching. A car loaded with people picked me up and drove me the restaurant. Along the way, a girl named Mary asked if I believed in Jesus. Before they dropped me off, I gave Mary my address because she wanted to talk to me about Jesus.
When I got home, I was about to go inside, but looked over at my car. I got in, turnedthe ignition and it started right up.
It didn't occur to me that our Lord heard me. Mary came over the next day.
I appreciated reading this. But what, if I may say so, makes your conversion story any more spiritually real than, say, this one by Abdullah DeLancey, who converted to Islam (http://tellmeaboutislam.com/abdullah-de-lancey.html):
My name is Abdullah DeLancey. I am Canadian and I am employed as a Patient Service Worker at the local hospital. I have been married for almost 20 years and we have 3 wonderful children. Alhamdulillah [praise be to God], I am now a Muslim. I wasn't always a Muslim, though.

Previously; I was a Protestant Christian for all of my life.

My family brought me up in the Pentecostal Church until I was an adult at which time I moved to a fundamental Independent Baptist Church.

As a faithful Christian I was very involved at Church, giving lectures for the Adult Sunday School and other duties. I was eventually elected as the Deacon of the Church. I really wanted to further my dedication to God and decided to pursue a career as a Minister.

I was awarded a scholarship to help me start taking a degree in Divinity. My goal was to be a Pastor of a Church or a Missionary. However, becoming a Minister would commit me and my whole family to the Church full time for life.

So just before attending Bible College, I thought it best to look at Christianity critically and ask some very serious questions about my faith. I questioned the Trinity, why God would need a son, and why the human sacrifice of Jesus, as stated in the Bible, was needed to provide me with forgiveness.

I questioned the Christian belief of how all the righteous people in the Old Testament were "saved" and in heaven if Jesus wasn't even born yet.

I pondered serious questions about Christianity that I had neglected to ask my whole life.

The answers I received from Christians on these theological issues "which are the basis of the faith in Christianity," defied all reason and were absolutely beyond any logical thinking.

Why would God give us a wonderful brain and then expect us to temporarily stop using it? Because that is what Christianity is asking people to do when they say you just must have faith.

That is blind faith.

Realizing that I had always accepted Christianity, with blind faith for my entire life and never had questioned it was perplexing to me. How could I have not realized this before?

I could not find the answers in the Bible. Once I realized that the Trinity was a myth and that God is powerful enough to "save" someone without the need for help from a son or anyone or anything else. Things changed. My entire faith in Christianity fell apart. I could no longer believe in Christianity or be a Christian.

I left the Church for good and my wife dutifully left with me, as she was having trouble accepting Christianity too. This was the start of my spiritual journey. I was now without a religion but believed in a God.

This was a very hard time for me and my family as Christianity was all we had ever known. I had to search for the truth. I began studying various religions and found them as false one after another. Until, I heard about Islam.

Islam!!! What was that? As far as I could remember, I had never known a Muslim and Islam was not heard or spoken of "as a faith" in my part of Canada. Unless, of course, it was news stories talking bad about Islam. For me at that time, Islam was not even a consideration. Not on my religious radar at all.

But then I started to read a little about Islam. Then, I kept reading a little more.

Then, I read the Quran. This wonderful revelation of truth changed my life forever. I immediately started to study every piece of information pertaining to Islam I could get my hands on.

I discovered the nearest mosque was about 100 miles away from my city.

So I promptly loaded the family van and drove my family to this mosque. On the way, I was very nervous but also very excited at the same time.. I asked myself, was I even allowed in the mosque because I wasn't an Arab or a Muslim?

However, after arriving at the mosque, I quickly realized I had nothing to fear. I was greeted by the Imam and the Muslims with a most warm greeting. I found them very nice. Nothing like the bad things the news always said about Muslims.

They gave me a book by Ahmed Deedat and assured me I could be a Muslim.

I studied all the material on Islam they gave me. I appreciated these books very much because our local library had only 4 books on Islam.

After studying I was in shock. How could I have been a Christian for so long and never heard the truth?

I now believed in Islam. I knew it and I wanted to convert.

I was put in contact with the small Muslim community in my city. On March 24th 2006 I went to the Mosque. Just before Friday prayer started and with most of the local Muslim Community present as witness; I testified that" La illaha ill Allah, Muhammadur Rasul Allah": "There is no God but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. I was now a Muslim. It was the best day of my life.

I love Islam and have peace now.

Difficult times have come since I became a Muslim. When people started realizing I was now a Muslim they would shun me or laugh at me, most of our old Christian friends have never talked to us again.

My parents have all but disowned me.

I love being a Muslim and it doesn't matter if some of my fellow Canadians think of me as odd for becoming a Muslim. Why?

The reason is that I alone, am the one that will have to answer to God after my death.

God is the giver of strength and Almighty God has helped me through all the rough times after my conversion to Islam. I have many, many Muslim Brothers now.

I have legally changed my first name to Abdullah, which I like very much. I am now the first and only Muslim Chaplain approved to work at the local hospital in my City. I am a Muslim and I am truly happy. All thanks be to God.
 

JLB

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Do we need to believe in fire to feel warm around a bonfire?

The reason you move toward the fire is you believe it will warm you.


The reason we are saved is we believe in our Savior, Jesus Christ who paid the price for our sins to be forgiven on the cross.


We turn to Him because we believe.


Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Acts 16:31





JLB
 

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  • God does nothing - We are told that God is a loving god, but the truth is that he does nothing to stop injustices.
It's unfortunate that you apparently haven't understood how injustice is stopped by a repentant heart. And,

Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?
But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” Mt.26:53-54

Peter thought he wanted to stop injustice, but was told to put his sword away.
 

journeyman

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I appreciated reading this. But what, if I may say so, makes your conversion story any more spiritually real than, say, this one by Abdullah DeLancey, who converted to Islam (http://tellmeaboutislam.com/abdullah-de-lancey.html):
For one thing, it seems Mr. Abdullah was educated the way he educated others, as he gave lectures to "Adult Sunday School" students.....then....."thought it best to look at Christianity critically and ask some very serious questions about my faith", because he was planning on college. Cart before the horse.

Mr. Abdullah wondered why God needed his Son to sacrifice so sins could be forgiven. I asked you about Jesus quoting the 22nd Psalm. You rightfully believed God would never forsake his Son, but I'm certain you don't understand the gravity of that revelation, because if you did, it would shake you to your core.
This teaching in Christiandom that God poured his wrath out on his Son never sat right with me. So I asked God why he did that and the answer I received was he didn't, mankind did. Try rereading the scriptures from that perspective.
 

tim-from-pa

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I read the Bible so many times. 90% of Christians in America admit they have not read the whole Bible. I have read the Bible seven times through and counting, and I have also read it in individual sections on my own, and we have read it together as a family through once, AND I have heard it nearly every week of my life at church. So yes I have heard the Word of God.

I often showed statistics in a pie chart format picture regarding this. If 90% of the "Christians said this", then guess what? They are not Christians. But in your favor, I applaud your reading of the Word.
There was no empty tomb. Mark "invented" it as a metaphor, it shows not only the conquest of death, but Christ's ascension—and the fact that he is the Christ. He draws on Psalm 24 for it. All other gospels use Mark, but interpreted him literally.
There's a problem with what you say here . But I won't elaborate now.
I do not think the Bible teaches that one cannot have faith without God's calling, nor that God predestines. Nor do I think it teaches postmortem evangelism.
I want to quote Ezekiel 37 on that. While I understand that is symbolic, all symbolic scripture has a literal fulfillment as well. Here, It talks about Israelites being resurrected in the FLESH on the last day. Here are many other scriptures that even Jesus stated that even the Queen of Sheba for example would judge the crooked generation. This is called the "general resurrection" not that of Christians. (There are 3 resurrections) So, for the literal part of Ezekiel 37, when does the Spirit be given to them? Before or after they are raised? Don't confuse resurrection with eternal life. It is not related. Resurrection simply means bringing back to life. It does not imply the eternal status of that person. A resurrected person can die again, and as such those resurrected in the general resurrection are resurrected physically, not spirituals as the church is.
 

T. E. Smith

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If 90% of the "Christians said this", then guess what? They are not Christians.
As I often say, the bible is like a software license (EULA). Most people don't read it. They just scroll down to the bottom and hit "I Agree."
 

T. E. Smith

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90% of the "Christians said this"
Actually, in retrospect, the number who say they did (10%) is probably inflated, since a lot of Christians who have not read the whole Bible would probably like to claim they did. Among American Christians, reading the whole Bible is probably a good deal less than 10%.
 

tim-from-pa

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Actually, in retrospect, the number who say they did (10%) is probably inflated, since a lot of Christians who have not read the whole Bible would probably like to claim they did. Among American Christians, reading the whole Bible is probably a good deal less than 10%.
I agree with you. If a person is searching, don't you think that is deplorable? In this age of Internet, the bible is online with all sorts of translations. So there is no excuse. Trust me, I have far more respect for your position than a run of the mill Christian who will spit out all sorts of doctrine but have not read the bible. At least we have. Earlier, I wanted to say to you why I believe what I do especially with post-mortum salvation. I am not saying one way or the other. I just wanted to share why I believed what I do, and I already said that believing the bible does not agree with what we see as mainline Christian belief out there. Religiosity is like politics, economics, and medical science. It's the "establishment" way that is not necessarily the truth. I added that pie chart I posted on this and other forums.
Bible-reading.jpg
 
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