Many people have asked me why I am an atheist and how I could possibly turn my back on Jesus Christ, after all he has done for me. I hesitate to give a personal story since personal experiences are largely irrelevant. Everyone has a story – the religious as well as the non-religious. Many religious people love their stories and use them as a “testimony” to the power of their god. However, every religious system has similar stories, so such reflection does nothing except to show that people have a story and many justify their beliefs by their story. Some are better than others but unless backed by some type of tangible evidence they are largely untestable. Suffice it to say that I became a Christian at 23 and spent the next 25+ years being committed to and worshiping Christ. Furthermore, I was a committed Calvinist for most of that time, spent a year in seminary, occasionally preached and helped start a church. I would have continued in that vein until a fairly traumatic event happened. In my mind, I simply wanted the Pastor to defend, from the Bible, several issues I saw in the church. I’m sure, in his mind, it sounded like a challenge to his authority and to the unity (actually uniformity) of the church. To make a long story short, I was asked to leave for the “good” of the church. In that moment, essentially 13+ years of investing in people and friendships in that church ended. (It was the if you aren’t for us, you are against us mentality.) To say that I felt “stabbed in the back” is an understatement. I obviously had a huge problem with what happened and the cognitive dissonance caused by it: How the bible says we are to treat others vs how believers treat others. Now there are different ways to handle this situation. You could essentially bury your head in the sand, join another church and continue with life or you can figure out why and how something like this happened. I chose the later. I decided to investigate the evidence for the Christian faith & the psychology of belief. I fully expected to come out of this search a stronger and better Christian. That, obviously, didn’t happen. I came to atheism gradually and not without a fight. It is extremely difficult to come to grips with the fact that you believed a lie and was devoted to that lie for over 25 years. It’s a humbling, traumatic and embarrassing experience.

So, the first reason for my atheism was the conduct of “god’s people”. This isn’t strictly a reason for leaving Christianity since the conduct of any one person or group of persons doesn’t mean that the religion is good or bad or that it proves or denies the existence of god. However, Christianity makes some very specific claims. The most bold of which is that god, through the Holy Spirit, dwells within the believer leading them to truth and helping them lead the Christian life. The fact that many polls and studies have shown that there is very little (if any) difference in behavior between believers (Christians) and non-believers suggests that this Holy Spirit thing is more fiction and wishful thinking than reality. In any case, this “reason” (how I was treated) was the catalyst for my journey.
Over the next few blogs, I will briefly discuss the major issues, during this struggle, that lead me to atheism. They are:
1. The lack of any kind of Perspicuity in the Scriptures
2. God commanding us to do things he himself won’t do
3. The Problem of Evil
4. The Problem of Biblical Genocide
5. The errancy of Scripture
6. The Fact of Evolution
7. Why would a perfect God demand worship?

I don’t expect to convince my Christian friends that their god is make-believe, but I hope they will understand that this wasn’t just a rash reaction to a bad experience.

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