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My Reasons For Doubt.


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I don't know if this is the best place to post this, but this is something I wrote to help myself put in words why I am beginning to doubt the truth of Christianity. I am currently reading Ken Daniel's book, "Why I Believed: Reflections of a Former Missionary," and I have been surprised and saddened by how many things bothered him that also bother me. Here goes.

 

 

One of things that troubles me about Christianity is the lack of internal consistency simply in the church, never mind the Bible. I do not understand how churches can claim on the one hand that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, and then on the other dismiss whatever portions they do not like as being “for that time” or “for that culture.” Take for example the issue of a woman’s headcovering. I have studied this ad-nauseum, and I cannot make 1Cor 11 say anything other than exactly what it says: a woman should cover her head when she prays at the very least, throughout a church ‘meeting’ if you apply the context of instructions for worship, and possibly all the time if taken with other admonitions to believers to be always at prayer. But not a single church in the denomination I grew up in teaches this. In fact they ignore all of the instructions for worship found in 1 Cor 11-15. These instructions are plain and obvious, not ambiguous in their meaning. Yet beyond the house-church model, do you know of any mainline denominations that follow them?

 

My Dad’s explanation for this is that our church practice is not based solely on the scriptures but also on the traditions of the ancient church fathers. And he said this in all seriousness. So, we ignore the obvious teachings of scripture because church “tradition” does otherwise, but we ignore church tradition when that bothers us too? What about the Pope? Church tradition that gave us sermon-centric worship with pews and ceremonial ‘communion’, rather than the meal outlined in Corinthians also tells us the Catholic church is our mother and that we owe our spiritual allegiance to her. Why do we get to pick and choose?

 

This is the sort of internal consistency, or lack thereof, that has troubled me for years. I have friends who have wrestled with this and in fact joined the Catholic church in order to be more consistent. If we aren’t going to have the Bible be our rule of law because of the traditions, then we should be honest enough to make good on our conviction that tradition is our rule of law and stop pretending it’s the Bible.

 

The problem is, I cannot even choose to follow the Bible alone because many of it’s rules and teachings are unethical, or even illegal by today’s standards. Should we really stone people at the city gate? And the very idea that the Pope is the mouth piece of God comes from the New Testament. If I should look to him for the current voice of God, a) what happened to being lead by the Holy Spirit, and why has God changed so much over the years? The very reason we should be able to trust God is because he is supposed to be immutable, unchangeable. But the God we see across time the Bible is oddly emotional and wildly changeable.

 

On a side note, I am also confused about the attitudes I see displayed by my Christian friends. Last Sunday in our sunday school class, we were preparing to watch a Nooma video on Job. The teacher posed this question to the group:

“How many of you feel that your life is going pretty well? That things are working out, that life is good?”

Given what faith in Jesus is supposed to give to believers, I was honestly floored that not a single, and I am not kidding, not a single person in a room of about 30 agreed. Several began talking about how hard life is, how things seem to go wrong so often. Sprinkled throughout this litany of pain were interjections of gratitude for having Jesus in their lives, otherwise it would be too much to bear. I sat there in silence. Would I have look fake, or unspiritual if I had admitted that, yeah, mostly I do feel like my life is going well? My life is not one long string of tragedies, even though I can relate lots of bad things that have happened to me.

 

The teacher went on to make the comparison to Job. No matter how bad things seem in our life, it is doubtful they could be as bad as things were for Job. And yet Job never curses God as his friends suggest. The lesson being of course that we should also be strong in our faith, never give up, yada, yada, yada. Then we watched the video. The speaker, walking along a deserted highway in an approaching snowfall begins reciting God’s monologue from the book of Job, and this is where he lost me: “Do you know where I hold the store house of hail that I hold in reserve for times of war?” (More or less, I don’t own a copy of the video). The entire monologue was basically lambasting Job for even questioning God’s goodness because as a minor human, he didn’t know anything about how the natural world worked. God was basing his superiority to Job on his superior knowledge.

 

I stopped trying to follow along at this point, because anyone who has graduated from high school knows that hail is not stored in the atmosphere waiting for the command to fall, that lightning bolts are not sitting around in some lighting-bolt gym waiting for God to command them. Job might not have understood these natural events and was suitably awed by them, but I do, and therefore, I am not. Now I know everyone in that room took all that talk about hail and lighting to be figurative, because the literal truth was just stupid. But why do we have to twist everything dumb from the Old Testament God and make it figurative? Because if I faced it as written, it’s a silly as a Greek myth about a god who flew to the sun with wings of wax. That is when, using my phone I got online and started trying to find other peoples reasons for leaving the faith. Which lead me here.

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Hi Rachelmum, welcome to the forum! I hope that you can find some of the answers that you seek, here, or at least always feel comfortable to talk with us about your questions and struggles. It's definitely tough to go through those internal struggles but it's even tougher trying to force ourselves to think like others... especially when you start to see it for how strange it really is.

 

Thanks for sharing and warm welcomes!

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That is when, using my phone I got online and started trying to find other peoples reasons for leaving the faith. Which lead me here.

 

My quest to get out also started with me doing searches on Google and Amazon for "leaving Christianity." And that brought me here.

 

Welcome.

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You are awakening to the real truth. The Bible was put together for men, by men, all of them from the same tribe. The inconsistent language, the whole principle of "Jesus Died for Your Sins" becomes meaningless when you start to think.

 

If Jesus died for your sins, why? Whom was he protecting you from? Is it clear he is protecting you from his Daddy in the Sky? What kind of father would do that, and why? To prove he could be punitive?

 

Once you pull a string, the whole thing unravels. You will feel freedom. You don't have to pretend to believe something because some dude claiming he is a minister tells you. Many of them don't know as much as some of the well read people here. Most people on this board have read the Bible, that is why many stopped believing. Sounds counter intuitive, but it is true.

 

But you, and only you, can come to your conclusions about what is real and what is fantasy. Good luck on your journey.

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Welcome! Good for you for listening to the voices that said, "This is nuts!" I ignored the flashing, beeping warning lights on my intellectual dashboard for decades.

 

I now have more peace than I have ever had before. I hope you find peace too! smile.png

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Welcome to ex-C. I hope you find the answers.

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Your reasons for doubt are very good. As I read what you wrote, it comes down to how we read the Bible and what credence we give it. As a Christian for many years, I fell into the trap of reading the Bible "like a Christian." By that I mean, reading it by overlooking the problems and blending them all together so they simply disappeared. What changed everything for me was finally coming to the point where I read the Bible for what it actually said and not making excuses for it. When I did that I saw it completely different and soon the Christian scales fell from my eyes and I saw the entire religion for the naked shell that it really is. That is what it sounds like you have done (or are in the process of doing). You are now reading the Bible for what it really is and I congratulate you for coming to that point. Keep it up and you will soon be free from the religion altogether.

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Greetings! Thanks for sharing where you're at. I fully agree that Christianity is a mixed bag when it comes to using the Bible, and even the Bible is a mixed bag. There is some good advice in the Bible, but nothing that can't be found elsewhere. On the other hand, there are absurdities, inconsistencies, divinely sanctioned injustices, fabricated prophetic fulfillments (NT writers taking OT texts completely out of context), etc. in the Bible. Many people here (myself included) studied the Bible in an attempt to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" and to "always be prepared to give an answer," only to come to the realization that Christianity is just mythology. Others had different routes, but we all recognize that Christianity is not the ultimate truth that Christians make it out to be.

 

By the way, "Why I Believed" is a very good book, so I'm glad you're relating to it. Good luck as you work through everything.

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Welcome, Rachelmum! It's so encouraging to hear you asking the deep questions and thinking for yourself. One of the first chinks in my armor of God was the fact that this "Word of God" is so unclear as to give rise to thousands of denominations worldwide.

 

+1 to Daniels. He's good, and he writes in a style that's disarming and accessible to the questioning Christian. I also found Ken Pulliam's blog very helpful (sadly, he passed away a couple years ago). lesswrong.com is good for learning what rational thinking is really like, though it gets technical sometimes. And http://commonsenseatheism.com/ was like candy for me whenever I was frustrated about the irrationality of Christianity.

 

 

One more thing, and you can take this or leave it:

 

Christianity does have answers to many of your questions (well, sort of). A "good" Bible scholar will approach the head coverings thing by 1) realizing that Paul probably wouldn't have written it if there were no relevant cultural backdrop, 2) finding out what that backdrop was (for example, maybe that not wearing a head covering meant you were pretty much a prostitute), and 3) finding something analogous today. Of course, there are some passages that are less malleable, like 1 Tim 2:11-15. Verse 14 anchors it firmly not in culture, but in Biblical "history". Nevertheless, some do relativize it, which betrays their commitment to gender equality rather than the literal interpretation of Scripture.

 

So give some air time to Christians too. Read some scholars and apologists. I'm not joking. Listen to some debates (the Unbelievable podcast with Justin Brierly is great). During my journey, it was important for me to avoid the straw man fallacy (that is, argue against a weaker version of Christianity than what the best apologists have built). Now, 7 months after leaving for good, I still have nagging "doubts" about whether I was actually correct in my conclusions. If I hadn't searched for and engaged with the best scholarship on the Christian side, I would forever wonder whether I had left the faith not because of rational compulsion, but something else... especially when a Christian friend drills me about my reasons for leaving.

 

Your journey might be long, but take your time and don't rush. You'll make it. smile.png

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Guest Babylonian Dream

You haven't been here long, but already, I gotta say I love your posts. The few you've posted so far are very insightful. Its good to see more people with such a strong desire to learn and understand things, and who see things the way they really are.

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I'm 100% certain that there is no god, and that the bible is nothing but a fictional story. If you don't believe me [but I know you have sense :) ], then read the bible. I can't wait for the day that we finally put that whole mess behind us...

 

impressive and stupid it is that such a large amount of people bought into "the afterlife" and "the messiah".

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Your journey is your journey - no one else's. You can end up anywhere you like on the journey.

 

BUT thinking seriously and logically on the way there is a very sensible step.

 

Welcome to ex-Christian - lots of us have found logic unavoidable.

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Welcome. Reading the bible in plain English without a study guide to reinterpret everything was also what destroyed my faith. Feel free to check out my signature for DarkMatter2525. He has a great video recently on the subject of Job.

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