Leaving The Faith
I stumbled across this woman’s blog the other day.
She says she was a Christian for 41 years…and is now an atheist.
Her language reflects that change for those who may be offended by coarse language.
She referenced this video on YouTube.
How would you respond to her if she was a friend or family member?
Have you wrestled with the ideas brought up in the video?
How do you resolve them with your concept of God?
The video is pretty ridiculous, IMO. Anyone can bring up surface level arguments by ignoring the context as a whole. The new crop of ‘evangelical atheists’ excels at these kinds of ridiculous arguments.
It’s been my experience that these kinds of folks aren’t really “atheists” but rather “disappointed-ists”. In other words there was either an expectation that didn’t come to pass about what they considered a promise of God, or some painful event. Either way, while they usually deny it (and I would expect so in this situation) it’s not the existence of God they really doubt but in how God works in the world. Either that or as was the case of multiple well-known atheists who confessed to this, they simply rationalize God away so they can do what they want, and but in this case won’t admit it.
I have struggled with whether to believe in God, or any god, at some points in my life. The most intense bout came in college, when I went to a church that had one foot in the Assemblies of God and the other in word-faith/prosperity theology. Good people, but they were unequipped to help me…my college pastor all but dismissed my struggled and yelled at me for ignoring missions.
I wanted to believe so I sought out apologetics – Josh McDowell, Gary Habermas and the like. MLD is largely right; apologetics is for Christians. It’s also a necessary ministry, perhaps not so much for 2010 but definitely for the 1980s and 1990s. It spoke to issues that Hagin and Hickey seemed incapable of dealing with (and never really dealt with; in fact it helped speed up my exit from the word-faith and prosperity movements).
The atheist would probably say I wanted to believe so I found things to help me keep faith. The Arminian would say I fought for faith though I could have walked. The Calvinist would say God had His hand on me and guided me through it, as I was His and never would stop being His. I lean towards the latter, but it’s really a mystery 🙂
The anger that comes out of former Christians turned atheists, such as this lady, and the condescending smugness that comes out of the likes of Hitchens frankly turns me off and solidifies me further from atheism/agnosticism and further towards faith. They say you will know Christians by their love, and despite the numerous #*&$heads I’ve run in to over the years in the church, I have met plenty of Christians who have shown the love of God.
That has made more of an impression on me regarding the reality of their faith, than the anger, bitterness and arrogance of the atheists from Madeline Murray O’Hair onwards ever has of their claims.
I totally like her!!
The video….not so much!
But really, she has alot of things right in what she says on that post…and she has a great sense of humour about the whole thing. I want to hang out with her!
***She says she was a Christian for 41 years…and is now an atheist.
Her language reflects that change for those who may be offended by coarse language.***
I don’t think that’s a fair assessment. She used the S word a couple times in an emtional context to make a point about how angry and bad she felt. That doesn’t seem much beyond anything you yourself might do, Michael. You usually use the greek word for s***, but we all know what you mean, and I get the impression that in person you would use the actual word. I also have a vague memory of you once using a flat out swear word in one of the comments, but I could be wrong about that.
At any rate, I don’t get the impression that Rechelle swears on a regular basis but chose to swear in this context as a way of expressing the intensity of her emotion. She also apologized in the post for swearing.
Her language was no worse than that of a great number of christians, and I don’t get the impression that becoming an atheist has caused her to start swearing.
I also think she makes a very good point when she says…
***I apologize for giving money to the church. I apologize for helping to support and pay for a building that stands empty six days a week. I apologize for giving my hard earned cash to pay an enormous utility bill on a mostly empty church building. I wish I would have given all that money to alleviate real human suffering. To purify drinking water, to build a third world hospital, to educate a child living in a slum, to improve an orphanage, to further research on diseases, to clothe the naked, feed the hungry, heal the sick, reform the prisoners, but instead so much of my available funds have up until now, been sucked into a huge building that gets used once a week by wealthy over -fed Americans who get upset if the sanctuary is not adequately cooled in July.***
How does this lady’s story fit in with the doctrine of Eternal Security? I am sure that when she was a believer she could sing “Blessed Assurance” with conviction, yet now she has left the faith, something I am sure she never thought would happen.
The Orthodox are often criticized by OSAS-ers for not having assurance of our salvation. Yet who has the assurance of their salvation? Who knows what the future holds? Either:
1. The lady wasn’t sincere enough when she accepted Christ and was never a true believer.
2. She really wanted to be a Christian all those years but wasn’t one of the Elect.
3. She’s still a believer, deep down, but is angry at Christianity and is acting out.
4. She was a genuine believer but is now a genuine unbeliever and has lost her salvation.
5. She’s still saved even though she no longer believes.
6. If she was a genuine believer she will come back to the faith before she dies.
7. She was on the path to salvation but has stepped off for a bit but can get back on.
Most church buildings are used every day of the week for something.
In one of her articles she made note that she now felt free to use words that she wouldn’t have when she was a “believer”.
You have the correct impression that in person I use the actual words when appropriate… 🙂
The person who did the video came across to me as stuck up and intentionally trying to be a jerk and offend people.
But, on the other hand, it seems like the church opens itself up to that sort of criticism. Non catholics stress that the Bible is the only infallible and inerrant authority for the Christian faith. More than that, there’s a sizeable, strident, and vocal group of evangelicals who claim that the Bible is the “literal word of God”. They’re not exactly clear on what it means to be the “literal” word of God, but the idea seems to be that the Bible should be read in the most non-allegorical non-historical way possible. It seems to me that if you read the Bible that way it can very quickly and very easily become repugnant.
***In one of her articles she made note that she now felt free to use words that she wouldn’t have when she was a “believer”.***
Okay. I didn’t read any of her other posts. Although, it seems to me if she’s apologizing for using a word she probably doesn’t feel that free.
***You have the correct impression that in person I use the actual words when appropriate… 🙂 ***
You and MLD 😉
***Most church buildings are used every day of the week for something.***
I know they’re used to some degree during the week, but whenever I drive by the two mega-churches here in town I get a bad feeling. Their buildings are *huge*, and what they do in them really doesn’t seem to justify the amount of space they have. The giant sanctuary I understand, but the rest of the building–the office space and classrooms–seem like they could be easily consolidated into something smaller.
I find it odd to see the disdain many people have for Christianity. I suppose I’ve seen the bad, ugliness as well, but far and away the greatest people I’ve ever met were also Christians. These are people that love, help, fight for justice, feed the hungry, heal the sick, shelter the homeless…etc. Certainly non-Christians can also be active in those causes, but to no greater degree than many of the Christians I know.
So, to this lady i would try and be patient and listen, and help in any way I could. Unfortunately, there would probably be no magic answer that I could give that would change her heart. I’d have to trust God with that. I would pray for her, and speak to her as much as she wanted, but wouldn’t push it.
AH!! See I knew there was a reason I would like her!!
She is too cool…
and I’m not even just saying that….
Brian D said: “The atheist would probably say I wanted to believe so I found things to help me keep faith.”
This is one of my favorite talking points with my acquaintances who are of the godless persuasion. They quickly attribute ‘desire to believe’ as blinding my observation, interpretation and application of “my religion”, but it’s like watching a frog trying to poop a watermelon when I assert and we discuss the fact that they “want to believe” that there is no God.
I find it so fascinating that the average atheist is so very reticent to admit that they want it to be true that there is no God, that they find a ‘godless’ existence most desirable – that they in fact “like” the idea of the absence of God. They all grudgingly get around to saying, ‘well it is true there is no God and I want to live in truth, so I must concede that on some level it is satisfying to know there is no God.’
This rubs like sand in the swimtrunks chiefly because if the idea is that my desire for God has influenced me to look over the “cracks” in my belief system, then they must also take ownership that their desire for “godlessness” has also influenced them to overlook the “cracks” in their belief system. Both belief systems contain mystery that hasn’t been revealed yet – mine has promised revelation, theirs does not – but the promise of revelation from mine is what I think makes me like it, prefer it, desire it more than theirs, which will on its own merit forever remain shrouded and never known.
I readily admit that the idea of God’s existence is more pleasant to me than any other, that I’m comforted by it . . . I guess I’m okay with saying “I believe what I want to believe” but my atheist acquaintances seem to be very attuned to the idea that desire has nothing to do with their beliefs. I find this really interesting.
I have family members who have gone apostate. I am not hard core wit hthem at all, but I feel I have communicated with them when God opened an opportunity. I sent an e-mail to a family member quoting Ezekiel 18, didn’t talk to me for over five years.. Another just gets mad, gives me the finger and walks away..
Eze 18:26 When a righteous [man] turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.
2Cr 2:16 To the one [we are] the aroma of death [leading] to death, and to the other the aroma of life [leading] to life. And who [is] sufficient for these things?
When I encounter the story and present state of being of this woman, engaged with her words;
And then engage with the risen Jesus during the course of the day I am convinced equally by both that God is real and Who He says He is:
By the disposition and declarations of this woman I see a precious being created in the image of God, tormented by the sin that she denies and fighting against the notion of a Savior who loves her enough to face her shame on her behalf at Calvary and rising from the dead to offer a restoration of her original dignity;
And by the demonstration of life and love that Christ has implanted amidst the stories of humanity within history and the life that He continues to impart today without blame.
Justified by His blood and Saved By His life vic,
Well, you can’t say that Rechelle didn’t describe what is taught in many Christian churches week after week. I would be interesting to know if she was save in that type of church 41 yrs ago, or if she was saved in a church that preached the gospel – later landing in her church.
To Xenia’s question about the OSAS crowd, I believe that people are eternally secured as long as they want to be, but they can walk away which this woman did. It happens everyday and we all know people who have done so. That does not shut her out – the Holy Spirit will continue to offer her the faith that leads to salvation.
I think we should find the people on this blog and do to them according to their own readings… who’s with me?
Gayle Haggard on Larry King tonight.
>>>To Xenia’s question about the OSAS crowd, I believe that people are eternally secured as long as they want to be…<<<
MLD, I agree.
I am pretty sure these folk have lost their eternal security… seems they are not even looking for it…
“I am pretty sure these folk have lost their eternal security… seems they are not even looking for it…”
Oh I don’t know BD…maybe they are just looking for “it” in a different way than they did before. Don’t be so quick to write people off there Bud.
I just kept thinking today it’s really too bad she didn’t just recognize that being a sh*thead isn’t necessarily a requirement of a Christian.
Unable to view the video but the written post sounds phony. I bet this is a hoax put out by the typical anti-christian groups. I do not beleive for a second that this woman ever professed faith or spent years in the church. In fact, As I have shared on this website in the past- if she ever truly professed faith she would have undergone what I call “the supernatural transforamtion of the mind” and she would be incapable of making these staements- posting this video, etc.
This is a hoax.
No Mark, it is not.
It is just something you don’t want to hear because you believe that it’s not possible for people to change their minds and loose their faith.