As one who no longer embraces Christianity, the Christmas holiday presents an interesting moment of reflection. It’s one of those moments where it seems like there would be a vacuum where there used to be religious devotion. Instead of a spiritual vacuum, I’ve discovered that my enjoyment of this holiday has simplified and grown more personally profound.
Deconstruction of my faith probably began in a small way in my Junior College literature class in 1990, when I had to read the Bhagavad Gita and the Tao Te Ching. At that time, it wasn't much more than a novelty, but it was the first time I ever considered that there are other people in the world who knew nothing about Christianity and were completely immersed in a different world view.
One of the most comforting things about Judeo-Christian ethics is that in one sense it’s easier. There is an authoritative being who tells you what you should and should not do. There is no urgency to wrestle over the nuanced and difficult ethical issues that every culture faces in this case. Just do “what the Bible says.” But is it really that easy?
The last remnant of my Christian faith came unwound when I started to confront the question of how we determine right from wrong. I knew there were various approaches to ethics, yet I was taught that we had a moral code straight from an objective moral source. How could there possibly be a better option than a morality that comes from an entirely objective and pure being, who simply told humanity what to do and how to live?
No issue has caused me to question my Christian beliefs more than what is often called the problem of evil. Ever since the Greek philosopher Epicurus (342-271 BCE) first questioned the existence of God due to the existence of evil in the world, people have faced this problem and often walked away from the faith of their childhood. The reality of suffering in light of the professed goodness and power of God is the catalyst that is most responsible for the shift in my own theological views.
As a professing Christian, there was always one question that plagued me over the years: Why did the Bible deserve the kind of loyalty and trust I was giving it? My beliefs about that book guided almost every decision I made, and eventually I had to ask myself why I allowed it to do so. Once I stopped viewing the Bible as an authoritative voice never to be questioned, I was able to see the flaws in it and begin to look for more reliable ways to find my way...
My decision to leave the church and all organized religion has been a slow-evolving one and wasn’t prompted by any one particular event. I do not feel any significant personal injury by anyone I’ve known from the churches I’ve been a part of. So why would I leave? ....
I believe the church as a social entity is dying and that's disheartening to realize. Throughout history, there have been foundational movements and moments where believers have ignited vital moral changes in society. While there are certainly dark days in the moral history of Christianity, there have also been important contributions to education, healthcare, the... Continue Reading →
If you were neck-deep in Christian subculture in the 70s and 80s, you would have probably been aware of a series of short cartoon tracts that were passed around by evangelicals in their efforts to sway unbelievers to repent of their sins and be saved from eternal damnation. One in particular comes to mind when... Continue Reading →