Books have different impacts upon you depending on the season you read them.
As I read this book (July-August 2019) I am well on a journey of deconversion out of Christianity.
I am searching for community and answers, and thus I have read and listened to a whole host of resources. I want to begin to face up to my wavering faith in the Judea-Christian deity and engage in tough and honest questions.
Over time I have become a regular listener of a podcast called Unbelievable? – a Christian podcast, but one that engages very well with other worldviews and asks the sort of questions I was wanting to dive into. Through my time listening to this podcast I came across the host’s (Justin Brierley) own book: ‘Unbelievable?: Why after ten years of talking with atheists, I’m still a Christian’.
(A side note – I would whole heartily recommend both the Podcast and book by Justin to anyone. They will make you ask questions, which is vital to understand why you believe what you believe and to be challenged.)
I read Justin’s book a while ago, and I will publish a review of it at some point for you to read. On his podcast I came across an episode in which it turned out that a couple of people (seven to be precise) had written a response book to his: ‘Still Unbelievable: Why after listening to Christian arguments we are still skeptics’. In the back of my mind, I stored that nugget and found the book online, saving it to my Amazon Kindle wishlist.
On the aforementioned episode of Unbelievable? Justin brought on a couple of the authors as guests. They came on to debate with Justin (who had another Christian guest on his side join him), and they tackled both books and confronted the differences found within.
What amazed me about the episode most was that the authors of Still Unbelievable had once been followers of Jesus in differing demonisations, they had all lost their faith and none of them had wanted or expected it to happen.
I touched on this in a previous blog post a couple of weeks ago: ‘Those Who Went Before‘ – please do take a look 🙂
I bought the Kindle edition for £0.99 (all money goes to charity), though it is free on this link, and ended up getting in touch with the authors and having an amazing Skype conversation with Andrew Knight and Matthew Taylor whilst I was halfway through the book.
Since finishing it I have been repeatedly struck by how little I question the beliefs that go the deepest within me. Rather I take for granted what I have been told or taught, and rarely ask for justification to points or thoughts people raise and share within the Christian circuit.
Here are some of my top quotes from the book, the lines that hit me the hardest. I am sure you will see why.
‘This is the real problem with the God hypothesis; because God is assumed to be able to do anything, and his intentions are mysterious, he can be made to fit anything we observe.’
‘Is God willing to prevent suffering, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. If he is able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then why is there suffering? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?’
‘What Christians call spiritual warfare is indistinguishable from ordinary human challenges.’
‘No Christian I know has ever suggested that heaven was a temporary state. We are to believe that heaven is a permanent state of bliss in the presence of God. But hell deniers want us to believe that hell is temporary. If the language of eternity is literal for heaven, I see no honest way to make it figurative for hell.’
‘A relationship with God is a relationship on your knees, apologizing for all the bad things you have done, and taking the blame for things that are not your fault.’
You will see how hard-hitting they really are when you find them within the wider sweep of the narrative as you read them for yourself. 😉
In closing, this is one of the best starting position books I have come across. It doesn’t spend time telling you what to believe, rather it spends its time telling you that people have fallen away from God, even when they searched for him relentlessly. It tells you that what you take for standard and as given is not standard or given, very little is within our worldviews.
I call it a ‘starting position’ book because it has made me want to study a ton of the subjects in more depth. Faith, Morality, the Resurrection, Church & my own heart within my journey.
I am still in contact with Andrew and Matthew – they were willing to honestly talk with no judgement or pressure when everyone else wanted to heal or correct.
They blew the Christians out of the water.
On a side note, I plan to be releasing a book review once every 3 blog posts, these are all book reviews for the books I have read during the time I wrote these posts. So they all influence what I write, in one way or another.
_End of Blog Blurb_
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. It has taken me a few years to get to a place where I am able to share about my loss of faith and to start writing about the journey that I am still on for you all. I hope you find it useful.
Grammar, spelling, capitalisation and punctuation: I am massively dyslexic. It has taken me years to get to the level I am currently at with writing and I have done this mainly through reading. I want to be better, and ask you reader to please forgive any errors in my writing. I hope you notice improvement upon improvement over the coming years.
Time Frame: This blog is roughly six to nine months behind where I currently am at in my journey out of religion. It’s important to remember that when reading and commenting.
If you want to connect with me, then you can get in touch via any of the social media links that can be found at the top of the page. If you want to get every post straight to your inbox then you can do that by either following directly via WordPress or with your email address, whichever you prefer – the links are to the right.
I’ll see you back here at the same time next week 🙂