Day of Awakening

Disclaimer: This post is from the archives, and may not represent the current views of the author. It also may not be at all interesting to read. Continue at your own peril!

Well, today’s the big day. It’s officially been one year since my “de-conversion.” I marked this day down in my agenda as the “Day of Awakening” – not that I really mean that in a condescending way, like before I was asleep and now I’m awake, but for me it was a moment of truth-finding. I wanted a name that reflected the change in perspectives. Anyway, I don’t think that I really have anything profound to say here, but I’d like to take a bit of time to reflect and think back on the year that has passed.

I remember very vividly the day that I said my last prayer. I had just been let down yet again at church on Sunday (asking for some sort of sign), and I knew that I simply couldn’t continue on like this. It was too painful, and because I had already essentially come to the realization that I had no intellectual reasons to believe anymore, I was left only with the hope of God showing up in some way to help me out. After that Sunday, I took a couple days to sort it out in my head and figure out what to do. And then, on Tuesday, August 19th, I said my last prayer. I knelt down beside my bed, and told God that I was still open to hearing from him if he ever decided to actually show up. But, I could no longer keep on holding out hope, and I told him that I just didn’t believe that he existed anymore. (I know, strange to talk to someone and tell them you think they don’t exist!) After my prayer, I got up and stared out my window. The emotions were intense. The process I had been going through was one of the most painful times of my life, and saying that final prayer really didn’t help much. Maybe a little bit, though – it did give a sense of finality to it. My journey was over – at least, the bulk of it was.

Shortly before that point, I had been visiting a website for ex-Christians. It’s a site devoted to helping people that have come out of Christianity, to help them heal wounds and provide support in whatever way they needed. A notable feature of the site is its de-conversion stories, and one thing I did in the days that followed was to write up my own and post it there. Just writing it out made me feel a bit better, and the community at the site did help me as well. I mostly needed a bit of reassurance. I also read some of the other de-conversion stories, and was amazed at how much more difficult of a time some people had. Some had struggled for years. Others had told their family and were shunned or ostracized. One former old-order Mennonite woman almost was not allowed to go to her own mother’s funeral because her family did not want her to be a part of it. Reading those made me feel much better – because as much pain as I had felt, I know there were others who had a much harder time with it.

But mostly, it is time that has been healing my wounds. I continued to do research and read books and websites about religion and theology, and I really tried to nail down some new beliefs. After all, becoming an atheist is not like becoming a Christian. Christianity provides a pretty big structural framework of beliefs and attitudes. Atheism is more of a cafeteria lineup, and with so many options, it was hard to know where to begin. That’s been the biggest process for me, and it continues to be my focus. But mostly, what led most to my healing process was just getting away from religion for a while. I had been visiting that site for ex-Christians regularly, but it got to the point that it was making it worse to even read about religion. I just wanted to stop thinking about it for a while. Doing that helped a lot. I still did visit some sites that focused on the topic, but it had been such a part of my life for the previous year that I just needed to get away from it. I wanted to actually live life again.

So there’s a short summary of what’s gone on. I have found that life as an atheist has been, well, pretty much the same as life as a Christian, except that now I get to sleep in on Sundays. Seriously – when you really get down to your day-to-day life, not much changes. You still have family and friends, a job or school, and hobbies and interests. Some things certainly change in dramatic ways, but my life is no better or worse off now. I am still happy, and I still live a good life. And now I feel that I am being intellectually honest with myself, which is great. We always feel more satisfied when we believe that we are following the truth. It removes the angst of just not knowing. That satisfaction would have come no matter what conclusion I reached, but I’m just glad that I reached one.

Much of the pain is gone. I still wax nostalgic every once in a while. Sometimes I will get a worship song stuck in my head, and I wish I could go back to feeling that feeling that I got when singing those songs. Sometimes I get stuck at a loss for words when someone tells me about some personal difficulties they are going through. It’s so much easier to say, “I’ll pray for you” than it is to offer helpful advice or actually go and help them with actions. I’ve also spent so long thinking about myself and my own beliefs, that I’ve sort of neglected my friends to a certain extent. I have to learn how to meaningfully help others all over again.

But those, to be honest, are minor concerns. I have seen those painful memories or awkward moments fade with time so far, and I know that they will continue to do so as I spend longer on the other side of the fence. I am glad that those around me have been supportive and helpful, and I am glad that I have been able to focus my energies on other pursuits now that my crisis of faith is over. Certainly it is always a continuing journey, but the past year has shown that I am able to keep going and live a meaningful existence, even without the belief in divine beings. What the future has in store, I don’t know, but as usual, I am excited and optimistic for whatever will come my way. I hope that by this time next year, I’ll be able to report in and say that I’ve been able to nail down a more complete worldview. I want to figure out what I believe in terms of ethical theories, and also deal with my political persuasion. And of course, I also want to go out and enjoy my life a little bit – because that’s what it’s there for!

Anyway, that’s all I’ll say. This day, for me, is focused on atheism, on self-reflection, and on thinking about future goals. Now that I’m done this blog post, I think I’ll go out and watch a Richard Dawkins documentary, spend some time worshipping the god Athe (hah, get it?), and maybe sacrificing a virgin or two. Well, okay, maybe just the first one…

27 responses to “Day of Awakening”

Makarios

Hmm, I want to wish you luck on your journey but it gets all mixed up with reading incoherent thoughts like believing you're leading a meaningful life. Not if you're an accident and this is all there is. But that's not why I responded. I do wish you luck. As they say, the unexamined life is not worth living.

Cori-Beth

Thank you, Jeff for being honest with yourself on your journey called life. I think we all could use a few lessons from your honesty. Even those of us who are Christians! We all need meaning to our lives, what ever that may be and where ever that may take us.

I had an "ouch" moment as a Christian with your statement "It's so much easier to say, 'I'll pray for you' than it is to offer helpful advice or actually go and help them with actions." How true this statement is! And again "ouch"!

May we all continue to have "days of awakening" in our walk of life.

Your big cuz, Corinne
That sounded like an ending to a letter!

feeno

Mak'

Whats up my brother? what a small little world we live in. My favorite Christian blogger shows up at my favorite Atheists place? I'm curious to know how you ended up here?

Mak, you crack me up. I remember reading your post about how you were gonna take it easy for awhile blogging, especially when it came to atheism. And just about every day I check your site out and your going stronger than ever. I only laugh because I agreed with everything you wrote in that post and have felt the same way at times. But your friends like PF and TAM etc. would really be missing out on a lot with out the benefit of your knowledge.

Good to see ya here. feeno

feeno

C-B
We think a lot alike. As I was reading Jeff's post the same thing crossed my mind about simply telling someone "oh I'll pray for you'.

Having said that, Jesus' brother addresses both sides of this issue. First he says what good does it do to tell someone who's hungry I'll pray for you, when you could give them a cheeseburger? But he also says "the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

We can't always help someone out with physical needs (tho we can more than we think) but we can always pray for one another.

I don't like to burden people, but even if it's just once in a blue moon, you can pray for me.

And Jeff, (if your reading this) It will be prayers from people like your cousin that will keep the Holy Spirit pestering you.

Peace and hair grease, feeno

feeno

Jeff

Sometimes I forget that your an Atheist. I just think of you as my little buddy from Canada. Like Tuesday night for example, after my dominating performance (ha ha) all I could think about from the dug out was going home and telling you all about it.

I have to agree with Mak on this one. I know I'm giving Atheists some ammo here to use against me, but that's OK. as much as I love many parts of life, ultimately it is insignificant and meaningless if there is no God. Sure you can have a great life with family, friends, food, fun etc. But then what? What profits a man if he gains the whole world and yet loses his soul? I know you've heard all these verses before, I'm just waiting for your post on your journey back from Atheism.

I have a lot more to say, maybe tonight before bed I'll check in. Thanks for your story and friendship, feeno

Jeff

Makarios: Thanks for the best wishes! I disagree that being an "accident" implies not having meaning. I mean, it was random chance (or "accident") that one particular sperm beat out all the others to create you. If another one had gotten there first, you could have been a woman! That, to me, is a meaningful accident. It's random chance that produces lottery winners, but I think that they would say the event has meaning. Now, not in a "life purpose" kind of way, perhaps, but I'm saying that any event can have meaning to a person. People create meaning, so to say that life is meaningless if this is all there is, is just plain untrue. Sure, there's no grand cosmic purpose, no big being in the sky telling me what I'm supposed to do – but that doesn't stop me from setting goals, having dreams, making plans, fostering relationships, etc. All these are still there, and if you think that these are meaningless, well…you must have a pretty boring life!

Anyway, thanks for stopping by. I always appreciate the comments 🙂

Corinne: Thanks to you, as well! I appreciate the support I have from my family and friends. And yes, I think that should be an "ouch" statement. Now, I totally get that if God exists and is the way the Bible describes him, than prayer is certainly a useful tool. But even still, I have much more respect for the Christians who actually get off their butts and do something, rather than those that are content to keep their lives comfortable, but make sure to go to prayer meetings every week and pray for the poor. Way to follow Jesus, there, buddy! Haha…I think all of us, regardless of religious beliefs, need to work on fulfilling our duties to our fellow men and women, simply by nature of the fact that we are all human. We're all in this together, and it works out a lot better for everyone if we help each other out.

But anyways, you're doing your duty for me anyway, with your kind words 🙂

Feeno: Well, since I'm on a roll here, I should probably thank you as well. Haha you're always here to at least keep things fun and interesting, and sometimes I get too serious for my own good 😀 But to answer your question, "but then what?" well…then we die. And hopefully we've lived a good life. What is interesting is that when you know that this life is all you've got, it seems to make it so much more meaningful. You want to squeeze every ounce of satisfaction out of it that you can! I think it's really all a matter of perspective. I think it's possible to live a meaningful, satisfying life as a Christian or an atheist, as long as you have the right perspective about it. Christianity can certainly give a "what's the point?" question to this current life – if we've got eternal bliss coming, why not speed up the process? From that angle, it makes sense. Just like from one angle, you could find atheism incredibly meaningful, and from another angle it comes out with utter despair.

I say, leave those questions about the "ultimate purpose of life" for the nights when you stare up at the stars; for everyday life, living in this exciting world gives more than enough purpose to go around.

Anyway, thanks as always for stopping by, and let me know how your game goes on Monday 🙂

feeno

Jeff

The Bible talks about how the Angels in Heaven rejoice when someone accepts Christ. They are up there partying with great joy.

If there is a God and the Bible is true I wonder if them same Angels felt bad on your day of awakening?

I'm no Angel but it saddens me. I'll never be able to prove to you or anyone else that there is a God. But everyone thinks if God would just show them a sign, then…. Did you know when Jesus was walking around teaching, preaching, healing, forgiving and doing many miraculous feats, that many people followed him around just to see him do miracles, but not to hear what he really had to say.

There are alot of reasons we can "Debunk Christianity" but Jesus makes it hard not to believe.
I don't know who coined the phrase (some fundy Author) but Jesus is either a liar a lunatic or Lord. All the excuses people use to try to debunk Jesus' existence are desperate people grasping for straws. They will say he might have existed but he was gay, or he was married to Mary Magdelen or he never claimed to be God, or he was just a good man or teacher etc. etc. etc. But let me try to make a quick case for Jesus as Lord.
#1. He had power over men,demons,sickness,nature, and even death. #2. He knew the future and the where abouts of people who weren't around him, he could read the thoughts of his Disciples, the Scribes and Pharisees. #3. He was worshiped as God by The angels,wisemen, shepherds,lepers,the blind and Stephen,Paul, Peter, James, John and Jude. And finally he did claim to be God. If you have seen the father you have seen me. I and the Father are one. I am the God of Abraham and of Issac.

Again that wont change anyones mind, but hopefully at least it will make Christianity seem a little more simple. It's all about you and Jesus.

Peace, feeno

P.S. It's not up to me to speed up the process, that God's dept. And the Apostle Paul wanted to speed it up, but knew God had a plan for him on Earth. Paul said to live is Christ, Ahh but to die is gain.

Peace out again, feen

Anonymous

From what i can tell, de-conversion isn't the right word to use.
If your life hasn't changed at all besides going to church on Sundays.. I really have to doubt that you even remotely understood what God wants from you and how God speaks.
Surely you must have spoken to a couple pastors and family/friends/devoted spiritual elders that you respect and had them pray for you and with you to really know the Holy Spirit and give you assurance for your doubts.
Surely you must have fasted for several days and devoted a large bulk of that time praying and expecting to hear God's voice.
Surely you must have volunteered in programs around your area where you can serve those in need around you and experience love in that way.
I really hope you did all those things.. and not just bury your face in a wash of books and opinions and philosophies. Because from what I've read, it seems your way of trying to hear from God was to sit in your room by your bed and to fast from praying for a month.

I'm not trying to come down on you.. everyone should be able to believe what they want to, but i just don't understand why you would even become a Christian in the first place if you didn't truly sense God, and hear Him, and know Him as a communicative being.

Don't give up on God because Christianity constantly fails. Of course Christianity has flaws and problems. Because the people that are Christians (and invented Christianity) are imperfect and just as messed up as everyone else. God just wants you to love Him and know Him. That is why He created us.

Jeff

Feeno: Hey, if the angels feel so bad, I'm sure it wouldn't be that difficult for one of them to come down and show me their wings. Maybe I should ring some bells? Lol…

But as far as what you write about Jesus and his life…my only question is, what evidence do you have for any of that apart from the Bible? Sure we have a couple sources that mention Jesus as a teacher or whatever, but nothing that says, "He did miracles and he was God and he knew the future". The only sources we have for that stuff are the Gospel accounts, written about 40+ years after his life and by a bunch of anonymous authors. I have no problem with saying that Jesus existed – I find the Jesus Myth theory interesting, but I don't think there's enough solid evidence (or lack of evidence) to go that far. I just don't think we have very much good evidence for a man who walked on water, multiplied fish, and healed people through his clothing. Such things today are limited to faith healers, and I have no trust in their reliability whatsoever.

Anonymous: I think you have gained a very small snapshot into my life, but one that you probably shouldn't try to generalize to the whole. When I say that my life didn't change much, I mean that my everyday actions really weren't affected. I still have the same friends and family, I still go to the same school, I still am interested in the same things, etc. Now certainly my "spiritual life" took a drastic turn for the worse, but in everyday life, in the day-to-day activities I was involved in, I was still the same. My personality hadn't changed – I am still the same me. That is what I meant by that. But you're right – I did spend much time praying, reading the Bible, reading other books, talking to other Christians, etc. During that period of searching, my life definitely was radically different. No, my method of trying to find God was not limited to sitting in my room and not praying. Quite the opposite.

And yes, as a Christian I did believe that I could sense God's presence, and could hear God speaking, etc. I no longer believe that is the case. I think that what Christians interpret as "God's still, small voice" is simply their own thoughts. Not that that's necessarily a bad thing – we often have very good insights about things – but claiming it is God is silly if it's not.

And no, I did not give up on God because of Christianity. I gave up on God because he does not exist. My prayers (my constant begging) went unanswered, and my research in theology left me with greater doubts and fewer answers than before. It was a multi-faceted approach, and on all accounts it failed to produce results that showed Christianity (or God) to be true.

Perhaps at some point, I will write up something about "Why I am No Longer a Christian" to give a more comprehensive account of why it happened. For now, just know that it was not the whole "I don't feel God anymore, therefore he doesn't exist" mentality.

feeno

Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Not Again!

Oh dear, once again I've got some goof saying that there are no extra Biblical references to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, nor of the comings and goings of the disciples. Sorry for yet another re post but, what else am I supposed to do?

Extra Biblical, Non Christian documentation from the time of Jesus and / or his disciples:
Regarding Jesus died due to Crucifixion –
“The Christians, you know, worship a man, the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites and was crucified on that account.” Lucian of Samosata – (The Death of Peregrine), 11 – 13

“Nero fastened the guilt of the burning of Rome and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, Called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus.” Tacitus – Annals 15.44

“When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing amongst us, had condemned him to be crucified.” Josephus – (Fides et Historia) 13

“Or what advantage came to the Jews by the murder of their Wise King, seeing that from that very time their kingdom was driven away from them?” Mara Bar Serapion, in a letter to his son from prison.” – Fragment currently at the British Museum, Syriac Manuscript

“On the eve of the Passover, Yeshua was hanged on a cross.” The Babylonia Talmud – Sanhedrin 43a – I. Epstein Editor and translator, London

Extra Biblical documentation from the time of Jesus and / or his disciples:
Regarding the dramatic changes in the character in the disciples and claims of witnessing the resurrected Jesus.

feeno

“Therefore, having received orders and complete certainty caused by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and believing in the Word of God, they went with the Holy Spirit’s certainty, preaching the good news that the kingdom of God is about to come. Jesus’ apostles were fully assured by Jesus’ resurrection. Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried on earth a very long time, and when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles.” Clement of Rome – (1 Clement ) 47

“Bishop Clement has conversed with the apostles to the extent that it might be said he had their preaching still echoing and their traditions before his eyes. Nor was he alone, for there are many still remaining alive who had received instructions from the apostles. When I was still a boy I saw you in Lower Asia with Polycarp, when you had high status at the imperial court and wanted to gain his favour. I remember where Polycarp sat and conversed, his comings and goings, his character, his personal appearance, his discourses to the crowds and how he reported his discussions with John the apostle and others who had seen the Lord. He taught what they reported about the Lord and his miracles and his teaching, things that Polycarp had heard directly from eyewitness of the word of life and reported in full harmony with Scripture.” Irenaeus – (To Florinus) 5.20

“For this is the manner in which the apostolic Churches transmit their registers: as the church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein, by John the apostle; as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter.” Tertulian – (The Prescription Against Heretics) 32.

“Paul himself and the other apostles, for they did not love the present age, but Him who dies for our benefit and for our sake was raised by God.” Polycarp – (To the Philippians)

The above sources point to multiple, very early and eyewitness testimonies to the disciple’s claims of witnessing the risen Jesus. The late New Testament critic at the University of Chicago, Norman Perrin, who rejected Jesus’ resurrection wrote, “The more we study the tradition with regard to the appearances, the firmer the rock begins to appear upon which they are based.” What we have are three categories of evidence that the disciples claim to have seen the risen Lord. 1) Paul 2) Oral tradition 3) Written Tradition.
Paul had firsthand fellowship with the disciples. We have an oral tradition originating from the time of Jesus resurrection. We have written tradition that attests to the disciples claims.

Extra Biblical documentation from the time of Jesus and / or his disciples:
Regarding the suffering and martyrdom of the disciples:
“The greatest and most righteous pillars have been persecuted and contended unto death. Peter, endured, not one or two, but many afflictions, and having borne witness went to the due glorious place. Paul pointed to the prize. Seven times chained, exiled, stoned, having become a preacher both in the East and in the West, he received honour fitting of his faith. Thus he was freed form the world and went to the holy place. He became a great example of steadfastness.” Clement of Rome – (1 Clement ) 5:2-7

“. . . the unlimited endurance of Ignatius, Zosimus and Rufus as well as the apostle Paul and the rest of the apostles among others. In association with Jesus they also suffered together. For they did not love the present age. Polycarp – (To the Philippians)

“And when Jesus came to those with Peter, he said to them: “Take, handle me and see that I am not a bodiless demon.” And immediately they handled him and believed, having known his flesh and blood. Because of this they also despise death.”
Ignatius – To the Smyrnaeans 3:2

feeno

“That Paul is beheaded has been written about. And if a heretic wishes his confidence to rest upon a public record, the archives of the empire will speak. We read the Lives of the Caesars: At Rome Nero was the first who stained with blood the rising faith. There is Peter girt by another, when he is made fast to the cross. Then does Paul obtain a birth suited to Roman citizenship, when in Rome he is ennobled by martyrdom.” Tertulian – Scorpiace, 15

According to Tertullian, if one did not want to believe the Christian records concerning the martyrdoms of some of the apostles. He could find the information in the public records, namely “The lives of the Caesars.”

“The disciples’ devotion to the teachings of Jesus was attended with danger to human life and that they themselves were the first to manifest their disregard for death’s terrors. Jesus who has both once risen Himself, and led His disciples to believe in His resurrection, and so thoroughly persuaded them of its truth, that they show to all men by their sufferings how they are able to laugh at all the troubles of life, beholding the life-eternal and the resurrection clearly demonstrated to them both in word and deed by this one, Jesus.” Origin – Contra Celsum – 2.56

. Papias cites both Paul and the apostle John and records their sufferings and deaths. (Fragments: Traditions of the Elders) 2,5 (Fragment 5)

. Eusebius in Ecclesiastical History 2.23 cites Dionysius of Corinth – Tertullian, Origen, Josephus, Hegesippus, Clement of Alexandria, all who wrote of the “martyrdom of James the brother of Jesus.”

All these non-Biblical sources affirm the disciples’ willingness to suffer and die for their claims that Jesus rose from the dead. The disciples’ willingness to suffer and die for these claims indicates that they certainly regarded those claims as true. The case is strong that they did not willfully lie about the appearances of the risen Jesus, for liars make very poor martyrs.

. On his way to be martyred in Rome Ignatius of Antioch penned several letters to various churches. All of which attest to the reality of Jesus and the suffering of His disciples.

In his letter to the church in Smyrna, Ignatius writes that the disciples were so encouraged by seeing and touching the risen Jesus that “they too despised death” and that after his resurrection, Jesus ate and drank with them like one who is composed of flesh. 3:2-3 “So pay attention, however, to the prophets and especially to the Gospel, in which the Passion has been made clear to us and the resurrection has been accomplished.” 7:4

In his letter to Philadeophians, Ignatius writes concerning the gospel, which of course was at the centre of Christian preaching. “But the Gospel possesses something distinctive, namely, the coming of the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, his suffering, and the resurrection.”

feeno

Jeff

I had my daughter help me paste this from makarios' site. I usually don't comment on his site but I always try to read what he is up to. I remembered reading this and thought it might be helpful here?

I would've tried to do this sooner, but I was camping with the youth and just got back awhile ago. Wanted to respond before bed.

I also know this doesn't "prove" that Jesus is God, but it seems to give someone enough evidence to believe if they wanted to.

I am going to click over to Mak's site and let him know I stole his post.

I'll talk to you soon. Peace out,

feeno

Jeff

Hi feeno,

Lol you could probably have saved your time (or your daughter's time) pasting this in. First off, a link would have been a lot easier 😉 Second, I'm aware of this stuff. Note that I said we didn't have extra-biblical sources for the miraculous claims of the Gospels. We have mentions of Jesus and that he was a teacher, or that he was executed, etc., but none mention miracles, fabulous resurrection accounts, or ascensions into heaven. So I have no problem saying that Jesus existed – I just don't think that he did all the stuff the Gospel accounts say he did.

As far as the disciples and such, I also don't have a problem saying that they were sincerely mistaken. Right now, I think the most reasonable theory out there is the argument for a "spiritual resurrection" – the idea that the disciples believed that Jesus had been raised in spirit and not in body. Over time, this was changed to a bodily resurrection, and then insisted on more and more adamantly. While I will admit that the evidence for this theory is not airtight by any means (like most theories of history, though), I think it is still more likely than the idea that a man actually was able to walk on water, raise dead people to life, multiply fish and bread, and then die and come back to life again. People are sincerely mistaken all the time. People don't come back to life nearly as often.

So I respectfully disagree that this is enough evidence to believe. But thanks for taking the time to show it to me anyway 🙂

Jeff

feeno

Dang it, linking, I should have thought of that, next time I'll have her link it.

Thanks for the polite response, and letting me at least try. OK now, just one more question on this topic for awhile, here it is: Would you if you were Peter have died for your belief that Christ rose from the grave if you hadn't witnessed him after the crucifiction?

Thanks again for your patience with me. Peace bro, feeno

JD Curtis

Jeff, go right ahead. Do whatever you want. It's no sweat off my balls if you rot in Hell for all eternity. Good luck.

I only hope that you compared the atheist position with certain theistic positions that are at least well explained and reasonably well presented . If you just siezed upon the first explanation that you could easily dismiss and then rejected God, then good luck brother.

Jeff

Feeno: Would I personally have died for Jesus not having actually witnessed him after the resurrection? No, probably not. But would others? I think it's safe to say yes. Considering how many people have died for causes they believed in without any clear empirical evidence for them, I think we can safely say that there would be plenty of people willing to die for that belief. Christians throughout the centuries that never saw Jesus in physical form have done so, and Muslim martyrs do so as well. Not to mention all the people who have died for other non-religious ideologies.

Me personally? I just don't think I will ever hold to any belief system strongly enough to die for it – to me, there is always enough of a chance that I'm wrong, that I am willing to shrug my shoulders and say "I don't know for sure." Now, maybe as a Christian it was a little different – at least in theory, I was willing to die for Jesus. Now I see that as somewhat of a dangerous mindset.

JD Curtis: Thanks for showing me the wonderful love of Christ. I thought Christians were supposed to be caring and compassionate? Hmm…maybe I missed the verse in the Bible that goes against that. My bad.

Lol anyway, I did try very hard to examine the various philosophical arguments in favour of God. One of the people I read was William Lane Craig, who has a fairly cogent argument, the Kalam Cosmological argument. I also tried to find a variety of positions on the issue, ranging throughout the theological spectrum. I examined moderate and liberal theology to try and figure out if it was an option to try and salvage some of my faith. And I grew up and was always immersed in literalism, so I knew that pretty well (13 years of Christian education will do that to you). So no, I didn't listen to Ray Comfort's explanation of the banana as the "atheist's worst nightmare" and then dismiss Christianity as a whole, if that's what you're wondering.

So anyway, thanks for dropping by. I always enjoy the comments 🙂

JD Curtis

At least you even know who William Lane Craig is. D James Kennedy is good also and there are alot of his sermons archived on youtube. I wouldnt even bother with the so-called "liberal" theology. It's like so much "religion" without any "God" in it.

feeno

Try reading this from the perspective that I feel like jumping off a bridge. We played one of the best teams in the city tournament tonight. They have a great team top to bottom. Probably the only team that would be favored over us.(?) They are the only Div.1 team in the tournament (we are in Div 2)and we should have beat them.(there are 8 divisions) But they won fair and square. It was brutal how we lost. I didn't do to well either. 1 for 3. (pitiful) I'm now 6 for 9 for the tournament. I better go 3 for 3 or 4 for 4 tomorrow night. If we keep winning we can still have another shot at those guys. I wont be able to sleep tonight, I'll be up thinking about all the things we did to blow this game. As good as our team is we just haven't clicked all year, we almost did tonight but not quite and we ended up losing 19 to 16, I was on deck, and had I got to bat I would have been the tying run. Oh well, you can't win 'em all. Thank God there were no bridges on my way home.

Hopefully I'll bring you good news tomorrow night, we should bounce back and win.(?)

I couldn't really tell but I think JD is a fan? I would have been better off not reading about his perspiring Krank tho.

BTW, yes people will die for a lie, but not if they know it's a lie. (?) what do ya think?

You sure got the fireworks started on this one.

Later Homie, Dueces, feeno

JD Curtis

Surfing the net today, I came across an entry my favorite blogger. He answers 5 questions commonly raised by skeptics. I might not agree with every dot or tittle of his responses but they are damn good answers. Refreshing in fact in this day and age of meely-mouthed answers in response to intellectually dodgy questions.

Jeff

Feeno: Well that kinda sucks. Try not to be too depressed about it. Or at least, why not fuel that depression into anger that will help you smack the ball right outta the park? Haha there's your solution…best of luck to ya for tonight's game!

JD: Lol I wasn't a huge fan of liberal theology either, although I do appreciate their honest attempt to reconcile their faith with external evidence. I respect that. I think they might dispute your definition of their beliefs, though…

As far as the link you gave, much of it I found simply to be deflections from the real questions. Instead of answering why he shouldn't use Occam's Razor, he talks about nihilism, arrogance, and then gives out a "tu quoque" to ask, "Well why don't they say the same thing about Labourites and Democrats?" The last two at least stick to the topic, but he essentially just denies that he believes what the quoted statement says he believes – which is fine, but it still can present a problem for the people that do believe such things.

Anyway, I would have liked to see where he was taking those quote from. I don't see any sort of link, and it starts at #6 so I would have liked to have seen the rest to really know what the topic is about. As well, with all that said, I'm not a huge fan of people like Hitchens and Harris. I think that they do have some good points, but I'm not interested in attacking religion or even Christianity as a whole. I am interested in living at peace with others. Fundamentalism can block the path to that end, so I have a problem with fundamentalism. But I have no vendetta against religion as a whole. I am happy to discuss what I believe to be the truth, but at the end of the day, as long as you're a good person who's living in harmony with others, I don't care if you believe in invisible flying monkeys…

feeno

Jeff

I'm glad I didn't jump. We won in 5 innings on the 10 run rule 16-6. I went 3 for 3. (I think I predicted that.) I'm now 9 for 12 for the tourney. We play Monday night, if we win we play again that same night. If we win that we will probably have to beat the team that beat us, and if we can beat them, the following week we will be against them again for the city title.(we have to beat them twice if no one else beats them)

I was really proud of our guys, we lost last night and tonight we were down 6-3 after 2 innings, but we all hung in there and actually made it look easy, scoring the last 13 runs.

Thanks for the space to brag about myself, actually I'm an average player at best, but I love being at the ball fields with the crowd and the guys.

Peace be with you, feeno

JD Curtis

Fundamentalism, to me anyway, is getting down to the nitty-gritty and really trying to understand what the Bible is about and what is contained in the pages ofs scripture. If you're thinking about Islamic fundamentalism, I read somewhere that alot of the restrictive Sharia laws are apart from the Koran and came into existance centuries after the time of Mohammed.

Kristin

Hey Jeff,
It's Kristin, from North Park here. How are you doing? I've been reading your blog with interest lately. After reading this recent post, I have a question for you.

I'm assuming when you were a Christian, your thoughts/beliefs on things (such as abortion, drinking, sex before marriage, using God's name in vein, things like that) were made based on your faith (at least they are for me). I know your belief in God has completely changed since I knew you, but I'm really just curious if your ideas on the other types of things I mentioned have changed too.

I hope you're doing great Jeff.

PS- I would be interested in reading your "Why I am not a Christian Anymore" post if you do decide to write one.

Jeff

Feeno: Holy cow, that's awesome! You see? There's more to life than losing baseball games. There's also winning baseball games! Lol

JD: Yeah, I know "fundamentalism" isn't quite the right term. I guess I could better phrase what I mean by not saying that I'm "against" something. I'm in favour of truth and of harmony with others, so inasmuch as a person or a belief system or a worldview promotes those two things, I'm happy. And I still have tolerance, at least to a certain extent, for those who I think do not have the truth. I understand that with the multiplicity of beliefs out there, chances are that all of us are wrong about something or other. I think that as long as we are honestly seeking the truth and open-minded to changing our views, then we're good to go. Anyway, I'll stop rambling now 🙂

Kristin: Hey there! Wow, long time no see, eh? Which is sort of weird since we go to the same school…but I guess it's a big campus 😛

That's a good question. You're right that a lot of those things were based on my faith. Some of that stuff has changed, and some hasn't. In terms of basic morality (do good to people, don't do bad to people), that obviously hasn't changed. But there are some things that the Bible legislates against that aren't actions that really have an effect on others. For instance, with gay marriage, what two consenting individuals do in the privacy of their own bedroom does not affect me. So I don't classify that sort of thing as "morality" anymore.

Now, some of what you listed off certainly can still have an effect on others. However, most of them now fall under the idea of moderation now. I may not have some sort of rule against drinking entirely anymore, but it still is a pretty stupid thing, if not a wrong thing, to go get myself wasted every night. Same with sex before marriage. I no longer feel a restriction in that regard, but I certainly think that two high school kids having sex would probably be a pretty stupid thing for them to do. These sorts of things don't fall under morality in the strictest sense for me anymore, but they're still dealt with by one's maturity level and ability to handle situations wisely.

As far as abortion is concerned, I think that there are several legitimate ways of looking at that issue, in terms of when we can call a fetus "human" or a "person". However, I no longer have the option of saying "life is sacred because God says so – end of discussion" anymore. If anything, it makes things more difficult, because I must struggle through the issues and think through the moral factors that weigh into the situation.

Anyway, maybe that's overkill to answer your question, but there it is 😀 Haha thanks for asking, and I hope you are doing well! We should hang out sometime 🙂

Kristin

Thanks for the reply Jeff. It was thorough! I don't have anything really to add, but I did want to say I read it. A lot of issues aren't so black and white, whether you're a Christian or not, so it's definitely good to be able to think through them to decide what to do.

I can't believe we haven't run in to each other more around campus. Yes, we definitely should hang out. Talk to me on facebook once school starts and we'll have to plan something!

Thanks for the encouragement Feeno- I'll see what I can do about that! 😉

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