(Revised Aug 9 2020)
Why I quit being a Christian after 40 + years as one ? Why is God and Jesus are still such an integral part of my thoughts ? These are the questions I wrestle with frequently almost daily. I always thought I will snap out of my backsliding as God will never abandon me. But here I am, found myself cursing God (and those over zealous and misguided evangelistic groups who so brutally interrupted my life) with profanity for the time he stole from me. My goal is to use this Profile Field to record my rationale to help me understand why I decided to walk away from Christianity. This analysis is work in progress, I will refine and clarify as time goes.
My spiritual journey : All started with an innocent encounter with a fellow student in a community college ( I used to call this divine appointment) in September 1975. He shared the gospel bridge with me on a paper. He was so persistent in follow-up that worn me out. I said the sinner's prayer and became part of this campus ministry group - that is the event that forever changed my life. I am not sure how much this group improved but in the 1970s the official motto is " born to reproduce". The leaders greet their disciples by asking " where is your Timothy ? ". And some called themselves the " never dater" as way to say how dedicated they are as disciple maker that dating was a distraction. This group has its heart in the right place. But its methodology in those early years, in my opinion, is militarily and brutally cult like mind control to shame you into being a strong Christian. I credit some of their tough love approach such as memorizing scripture. Even now I still have many of my favorite verses right at my finger tips. I hand written many of these verses in 3x5 cards, a whole stack of them that I trashed out of anger in and around 2012 when I started questioning my faith. From 1975, it was a spiritual roller coaster ride. There were long period of entirely secular family life, mixed with sustained periods of very active outreach ministry in campus, office and reaching out to restaurant workers from late 1999 to around 2012.
Where am I spiritually: In short, I continue to believe of the existence of the Biblical God and the Bible. I read that many Christians became atheist. I can never be one. The evidences of a creator is just too overwhelming as reflected in the wonders of nature. While, of all religion, I appreciate buddha teaching is what I think most peaceful and and with no malice (almost for all other world religions, their God are pretty protective of their domain, he will kill you or hurt you badly if you do not follow him or give him praise. I never Buddha will kill you if you don't follow him. What has changed is my past belief of the God's character. What used to be, as I trust for past decades - love, just, caring, forgiving are replaced with vengeful, narcissistic, egotistic, extreme obsession with praise and glory, favoritism, jealous, blood thirsty and down right mean toward his children. Pretty much a 180 degree change from my former naïve view of this heavenly father. Longer I live, longer I witness his ugly side.
Path forward: this small pilot light is till burning, faint hope that somehow all this rebellion, anger, pain, disappointment and bitterness of life experiences are just way for this God to prepare me for mission ahead (really ? at my age). Hope is what keep me from trashing my Bible, once I kept for so many years (full of sermon notes, lists of people I prayed for, action list I wrote in such small prints). So many times I want to take this Bible to the yard and chopped them into pieces. I know the day I did that is the day this pilot light is extinguished forever. I hold on to this Psalm 144:1 to keep deluding myself to think that all I went through is part of divine training to build me up.
Why I walked away (self analysis): to explain in abstract way - the bottom-line is I never feel the satisfaction, fulfillment, the peace and joy as so eagerly experienced and exclaimed by other Christians. Following. mostly unorganized snippets of argument is my attempt to logically analyze why I no longer want to be a Christian.
1. The garden of Eden, in the very beginning - the salvation theme of Adam and Eve's fall out from God's grace by disobeying God's instruction and the subsequent return to his grace through Jesus's death on the cross to redeem human's sin is the core foundation of Christian belief. My ex Christian view is that this does not make sense. I always wonder if God has not allow Satan in the form of the serpent to enter the garden to tempt our ancestor, Adam and Eve will probably be happily doing their job in the garden as God instructed. This idea of allowing Satan into the garden is like a parent open the backdoor to allow a drug peddler to enter your home to seduce your kids into drugs. And when the kids are hooked, the parents said you disobey me, get out of my house, and you are cursed from now on, not only you but all your descendant from this point on. How does this make sense ?
2. God's character - OT and NT offers two different extreme version of of God (this I meant Jesus the son and God the father as part of equals in the Holy Trinity framework). I love Jesus who definitely a perfect reflection of what a loving God is. Even in NT it is tainted with bloodshed starting with Jesus's birth that brought the slaughter of newborn the time he was born (ordered by King Herod after the three wise men's visit). Top the list of this brutal and angry God is the big flood as depicted in OT is his reset button for sinful people. He drowned them all spare just a handful few. They are too wicked to be redeemed as we were told by the pastors. OT is full of blood and hate, whole tribe or village is wipe out because they are wicked. I can think of one of the most hideous war crime in history recorded in OT book of Numbers 31 -the wholesale slaughter of captured women and boys.( https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2006/08/the-complete-book-of-numbers-the-bibles-most-hideous-war-crime.html). This is a good one - the dying dog analogy about hell https://new.exchristian.net/2020/08/the-dying-dog-analogy.html#more
3. Bible promises, checks that bounced - this is one that devastated me most. I love the Bible verses, so inspiring, gave me so much strength that sustain me through very rough patches in life. This has to be the word of God as it touch the deepest part of my soul. Book of Psalms, Proverbs and Isaiah are some of my favorite - just so many verses I loved and memorized. But that is the problem, what was written, what was promised to help us are like checks that bounced.
4. Christians do not monopolize happiness - the myth that dominated my life for so long is that Christians have the secret to true happiness and fulfillment, and no one else. And doing God's work (witnessing, fellowship, church events) gave you the most joy. This is just plain untrue. Looking around, I have friends and relatives who pursue their hobbies, career, charities work or other endeavor that to me are absolutely fulfilling and joyful. Looking back, I felt so cheated by those Christian firebrands who so forceful impose their definition of happiness on gullible people like me. If I can start my life again I will avoid these Christian zealots like a plague.
5. One Spirit, One church, one God ? - this question lingers in my mind for a long time. There are more Christian denominations than you can name, each with some variation of its core belief. If what the Bible teaches in John about the great teacher the Holy Spirit will dwell in each believer to convict, enlighten and instruct the only truth, how is that possible the Christian community is so diverse and its core teaching so different. I would think each believers will receive and taught only one truth, carbon copies of each other. Is there many Holy Spirits out there?
6. Bible verses that I have issues with: Remember he struck this fella dead simply because this man, out of good intention, tried to adjust the Holy Ark when the oxen stumbled - 2 Samuel 6:7. So unreasonable ! God also said he will give mercy to whoever he like, or does not. This is the scary part, God can do whatever he pleased, we have no say in it. God hardened Pharaoh's heart (even he want to let the Israelites free) so he can complete the last plague to kill all the first born. Romans 9:17-18
7. Why are we paying for the disobedience of Adam and Eve thousands of years ago. Bible scripture said we do not have to but we are ! https://www.openbible.info/topics/sins_of_the_father