I get a few emails and messages from Christian readers or Christians I know within my own personal sphere every couple of months. In these encounters they are usually trying to bring me back to Christianity. Seeing someone ‘lost’ and ‘searching’, as I am perceived by Christians, is really hard for them and if they can pull me back then the faith then that is the best thing possible.
I thought I would share a response to one such email below. The writer is shocked that evolution seems to be one of the biggest barriers to me having the faith I once professed back. Whereas I actually see it as the first mover in my faith deconstruction journey.
I hope it is enlightening.
Thank you for taking the time to write to me. It sounds like you are living life to the fullest and living it well – both good things.
I can confirm that my wife is fully aware of what is going on. She knows that I have been writing and publishing a blog since the 1st of Jan 2020 which is all about my journey of discovering that Jesus, as far as I can tell, isn’t ‘there’. She reads it each week, just like you 🙂
I can also confirm that this whole experience has a very hard journey. It doesn’t get made easier by having people believe they are the ones who can undo years of questions with a single email though. So please know that though I do appreciate your email, it will take far more than that to ‘bring me home’, as you put it.
Your email suggests that you think I am an atheist who holds Christian answers to everything and yet it is just evolution that has caused all my doubts. That if we could simply remove the evolution ‘issue’, we could get me back to Christ, and the ‘answers’ you perceive me to have would evaporate like a morning mist in the midday sun.
I want you to know that I do not have answers. I have very few answers in all honesty. What I do have is the physical evidences (the reality of the world we see and interact with around us), and a passion to know the answers to life’s existential questions. I find the religion I was raised in and followed for many years on my own has let me down in explaining both, but I do not claim to now be an atheist with all the questions sorted.
Much rather I would be called an Agnostic Atheist, still searching as hard as one can search for answers to questions that we may never fully get to the bottom of.
As I always say, just because we want answers to these massive questions, doesn’t mean that the answers provided by religion are actually correct, they could just be comforting instead.
Anyway, I feel that a reminder of what started it all off would help.
It was in 2017 when I had a slipped disk and was unable to move for a few months and was asking God – ‘Why’. During this time I read Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari and my world was shattered.
Yes, I had come across the Theory of Evolution before, but never had humanities story been so well explained in light of a bigger picture to me as it was in the above book. I am aware that his picture might be wrong – he definitely makes some bold statements and untrue claims about the bible. But nonetheless I have always believed I am special, that everyone is special because God is real and therefore, we are created to be special, but I then realised that the story of evolution is the story of pain, horror, death and meaninglessness (in an objective sense). The very story we are a part of now if God is not real.
There are a lot of reasons I don’t believe God is real. Though I honestly do want to. I feel like evolution when understood like Yuval explained it to me, dismantles the physical claims of God.
I turned to philosophy and apologetics to help. I thought I could find good arguments for God’s existence. So, I came to Unbelievable? podcast – now a weekly must for me.
Since 2017 I have listened to a lot of debates and found myself agreeing with the Atheist or Agnostic viewpoint more and more. Everything I can see around me, that I can feel emotionally and that I can know intellectually seems to sit within an Agnostic framework.
I listen to a lot of podcasts and read a lot of books. People like PineCreek, Cosmic Skeptic and Rationality Rules on YouTube have logically and systematically knocked my faith over the last few years.
I have never experienced Jesus in any real way, and by that, I mean in any way I could say was more than just emotional. I know God doesn’t promise to ‘appear’ and ‘make Himself known’, but I can’t line up an all-knowing and all-loving God with the world that I find myself sat within.
Talking in tongues, hearing God, words of knowledge, pictures, prophecy – they all seem so, man-made.
I am recently read ‘The Moral Landscape’ by Sam Harris at the moment (book review to come soon). The ideas within that book are massive and could well be wrong, but I find that they map onto the world around us far more effectively than the ideas I read about in Christian literature and hear from the pulpits.
Likewise in the Bible, reading the Old and New testament I find myself shocked more and more at the immoral and confusing statements it comes out with.
I know we need to unpack each statement in its own time and place and get a good understanding of the audience’s situation, but still, some of it seems so bad to me now.
From what I can understand and what seems to be real, all I can say is that life makes far more sense to me if there is no God. I feel there are evils within this world that make sense if we are here by chance and if evolution is true. Whereas if an all-knowing and all-powerful God really existed, they could still have created a world of pain and love but removed the evil.
We don’t need evil to have freewill. ‘The Fall’ which introduced evil must have happened before evolution began on Earth because evolution requires suffering, pain, death to get started. Evil, as suggested by the Bible needs to be in place for evolution, as interpreted by Christians, to happen.
Either the fall was the situation we evolved by, or it is a marker that all three Abrahamic religions are just wrong.
My biggest issue is that I WANT Christianity and this life to be more than that. But how do I know that isn’t just my upbringing and the hope instilled in me via Christianity throughout my whole life? This whole blog has been about me battling with the wants I have towards Christianity and the reality of what I see around me.
I love that C.S. Lewis quote:
“I am not asking anyone to accept Christianity if his best reasoning tells him that the weight of the evidence is against it. That is not the point at which Faith comes in. But supposing a man’s reason once decides that the weight of the evidence is for it. I can tell that man what is going to happen to him in the next few weeks. There will come a moment when there is bad news, or he is in trouble, or is living among a lot of other people who do not believe it, and all at once his emotions will rise up and carry out a sort of blitz on his belief. Or else there will come a moment when he wants a woman, or wants to tell a lie, or feels very pleased with himself, or sees a chance of making a little money in some way that is not perfectly fair: some moment, in fact, at which it would be very convenient if Christianity were not true. And once again his wishes and desires will carry out a blitz. I am not talking of moments at which any real new reasons against Christianity turn up. Those have to be faced and that is a different matter. I am talking about moments where a mere mood rises up against it”
– C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (Book III, Chapter 11)
I want it to be a ‘blitz’, but I fear that it is actually all summed up in the first line of the quote. There is a weight of evidence against Christianity that needs to be answered first.
I was raised on C.S. Lewis and I wonder if my biggest problem is that the hope Christianity gives, the very hope shown in those books, is also the hope that sparked the early church off, that led to the deaths of some of the first followers of Christ.
What if the religion I was raised in and that you profess, is just a mechanism to provide hope for people who don’t have hope, but would give anything to hold it?
Could this be what the early disciples crafted and taught?
I could see why that hope would be so appealing, and I could see why people would die for it.
Thank you for taking the time to write to me, and I hope you find the reply helpful. In all honesty I think I will post it on the blog, though of course, changing your name.
Take care and I hope you continue to enjoy the blog. I look forward to reading your comments over the coming years.
_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 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.
Podcast: If you like what you read then you could always check out the podcast ‘When Belief Dies’, it is available on all major podcasting platforms or you can listen via YouTube. Dave and I upload and publish via Anchor FM each Wednesday at 7 am.
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 🙂
Farewell For Now – When Belief Dies
- Farewell For Now
- When Belief Dies #100 – 'Psychedelics, Philosophy & God' with Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes
- When Belief Dies #99 – 'Open and Relational Theology' with Thomas Jay Oord
- When Belief Dies #98 – 'The Take Over' with Daniel Kelly & Roger Bretherton
- When Belief Dies #97 – 'The End?' with Daniel Kelly