Why I Doubt Christianity


[This is a personal letter from me to someone I will keep anonymous, posted on my main blog byroniac.blogspot.com and my mirror blog, byroniac.wordpress.com. This email was sent to a private individual before I made my agnosticism publicly known.]
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X,
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Sorry for taking so long in getting back to you. I have been thinking about this for several days, and I kept wanting to wait until I had exactly the right words. If I did that, you would not get a response until sometime Q4 2014 or Q1 2015. Lol. So, here is my best attempt to answer your original question. I want to apologize in advance for writing what I know will be personally very offensive to a Christian, and I have no desire to offend you, but I wanted to be honest (and actually, in that spirit, I need to confess that I wrote most of the next three paragraphs before coming back to this first paragraph and adding this as an apology).
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I would really like to say that I have left the faith for intellectual reasons. I do have intellectual reasons, but they came later. My first reasons have been emotional, and looking back, have been building to a head trying to reach critical mass for a rather long time, several years I think, since about 2005. But the process itself has been very gradual, slower than boiling a frog in a pot. It just seemed to happen over the course of a few months, because six months ago I felt I was a strong Christian theist struggling with a few spiritual doubts as to how God viewed me, and all that related stuff.
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I am really not sure I remember what came first. I think it probably began with a serious spiritual dissatisfaction with God and my life under His providential care (so I believed then). I started getting less and less out of church, so I wondered what I was doing wrong. I tried to justify my feelings by saying, God just didn’t move today. But others would occasionally seem to actually be touched by the Spirit, so I supposed. Then I started wondering if I was praying enough. I prayed more. Then I started wondering, is there unconfessed sin in my life? None that I could think of. I had (and this is deeply personal but probably not surprising at all to you) problems of lust and covetousness (not of money, but of social success and friendships and relationships and such), but these were ongoing confessions in my prayer life, with associated ups and downs but no real deliverance. I was desperately lonely and could not understand the providence of God in my life to allow not only crushing loneliness, unanswered prayers (forgot to mention, a rather big omission that) in various and numerous requests to God, but also the apostasy of near and dear friends who held devoutly to the same religion of Christianity that I held to, and the absence of saving faith in so many family members (again, more unanswered prayers) who were variously Catholic, or nominally religious at best, some not hostile but completely apathetic to religion (something I just for the life of me could not understand, especially with all the wonderful experiences in the Christian faith I had, wonderful relationships inside the church at least, at one-time a very growing and healthy spiritual life, and the like, and how could anyone not want more than the daily grind of a never-ending rat race offered by the world?). I even began doubting my election in the sovereign grace of Christ, having no real proof for it with which I could satisfy myself (and I had been given several times the spiritual tests given by Peter to see how one’s personal spiritual growth lined up with the expectation and assurance of the Scriptures, and probably other passages which I cannot remember right now).
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Finally (and I wish I could pin it on the calendar, for reference’s sake if for nothing else) one day came the fatal thought: what if it is all bogus? That little seed of an idea, much like in the movie Inception, germinated into a juggernaut that at first I could not resist and later had no desire to contain. I bought and began reading atheist books. I learned to doubt the Scriptures, and see real contradictions (sorry, this is my personal view) that I could not resolve intellectually. I began to see other Biblical problems that made plenty of sense intellectually from a theological standpoint, but which I could no longer justify emotionally and ethically. I had for some time been secretly in heart doubting rather strongly anything in the first eleven chapters of Genesis. I could not make myself believe any longer in a global flood. Miracles or not, the operation of such seemed absolutely absurd and the reasons for which have made the Christian God in my view to be a moral monster worse than and less deserving of worship than Hitler. Christianity, according to Calvinism, is one of the most diabolically absurd and hateful systems of religion ever invented by man. To think that God who could save a billion worlds filled with billions of souls in a billion different galaxies decided to save only a small remnant on a single planet in an obscure part of a lesser galaxy, and predestined these elect before time to salvation and them alone, is a horrible decree beyond my personal ability to describe. That hell is an inescapable death camp for the eternal torture of souls created by God solely for His glory in their judgment and damnation, and according to some Calvinistic perspectives, for the enjoyment or at least spiritual enrichment of the saved elect who can perpetually view such a monstrosity of injustice and evil, and glorify God for the same, is absolutely abhorrent to me. If such a God does exist, I would never worship Him, and would gladly rebel and suffer eternally than offer so much as a hint of praise to such a monster. My morality such as it is, imperfect as it is, wrongly exceeds that of the Biblical God, which leads me to believe either He does not exist, or is not correctly identified by the Bible.
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This is getting rather long, so I think I will end it here. I am well aware what Romans 1 says, and can no longer believe it. I fear that and other warnings less and less each day. Perhaps that means my heart is hardened until the full measure of sins gathers for God’s judgment and my own eternal perdition. Perhaps I am actually elect but never yet genuinely saved, because as bad as I am now, I can be no worse now than any other sinner before he or she is found and redeemed by the grace of God. Or perhaps I am elect, saved, and have entered a very dark time spiritually where I acutely feel the absence of the Holy Spirit and the chastisement of God, feel myself hardening in hatred and rebellion from God, and am awaiting some rather severe discipline where God will either strike me dead and take me home to end my spiritual folly, or by His mercy allow me to live but suffer incredible physical and spiritual chastisement before returning to faith. I think this option is less and less likely, because as 1 Cor 12:3 (KJV) says, “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.” And, it does not bother my heart or my spirit to say that the Bible is false, Jesus was either a liar (intentionally, or by reason of insanity, or sincerely mistaken), lunatic, or simply non-existent, and that God (at least the Christian God) is a lie.
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I think I have covered all the possibilities, and also made my position known. I have no animosity towards Christians, and because I no longer believe in the Christian God, I only feel animosity towards its religious conception of God and the absurdities in Scripture of requirements for the exercise of Christian religion. I am an ordained Southern Baptist minister, but I have not made my views public, and have no desire to preach or minister publicly or otherwise (I am still debating on how to proceed). Hebrews 6 still scares me a little, but I am rapidly losing the capability to even care and feel mostly apathy instead. Perhaps that simply means what is written there is true. More likely, from my personal perspective, it is simply psychological programming to explain apostasy and its usual finality to the faithful in such a way that acquits God or the church of any otherwise necessary blame. Simply put, Jesus Christ is not my Lord and Savior. I do not trust Him or His (supposed) Bible. I have no hope of salvation and I am quickly losing my fear of Hell or any Second Coming (incidentally, full preterism or hyper-preterism as it is called by some is an interesting attempt to defend the many failed prophecies of Christ and the apostles which promised a first-century return best I can tell from Scripture).
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I am not sorry to say that I am happily resigned to be an infidel.
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Hope this helps,
Byron
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P.S. I am very sorry for the offensive nature of what I wrote above, X, as I have no desire to offend or disrespect you in any way, though admittedly I am disrespecting and denying your religion and cannot help doing so if I am honest and going to sincerely answer your question. Please forgive me for any offense. If I were in your shoes, reading this, I would merely think of the tail end of Romans 3:8, “…whose damnation is just.” I would also endeavor not to pray for such a person unless I believed God specifically and unavoidably put such a prayer request on my heart. I used to believe God to be completely sovereign, and that He would work out the details. I’m not important, but I believe apostasy happens every day, and that most in the church, including often pastors themselves, do not really believe any of this, just like I no longer do. I am still the same person I was (according to Calvinism, possibly never regenerated in the first place) and I enjoy the fellowship I have with Christians. I have no desire to be mean or hateful to my Christian friends, or to repeat what I have said to you unless I discover they are open to apostasy and unbelief. I enjoy debating, and I would love to debate Christianity at times, but mostly I’m trying to re-prioritize and just get on with my life and pursue the things I enjoy: computers, reading, secular entertainment and the like.
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Wish you the best!
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