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1/30/08                                                                                       View Comments

If I could still believe, I would

Sent in by Chris

I have been a believer in Christ for more than 15 years and now I must explain what has happened to my faith. There have been a lot of questions from family and friends, so I wrote this letter as an explanation of sorts. To put it bluntly, I don’t believe in God anymore. To finally come out and say that ‘I do not believe’ has been one of the most heart wrenching experiences of my life. I have been a zealous Christian apologist and I know most of the arguments in favor of the Christian faith intimately. I have a cross tattooed on my arm with the Greek letters for Christ above it. I know many of the key Bible verses in the original Greek as well as English. I am very familiar with all of the church history and the ‘evidences’, and have used them in debates with others who were not Christian. I have at times been a youth leader and have filled in worship leader playing guitar or bass. I have lead small group studies; my evangelical credentials are obvious to all who know me. Please understand, if I could still believe, I would, if for no other reason than it would make life a lot less complicated. Nearly all of my friends and family are strong, dedicated Christian believers and now it seems I am at odds with them. I have questioned myself, am I doing the right thing? Just how much do I doubt the existence of God, the veracity of scripture, and the Gospel message? I am still the same person you knew before, my character has not changed, only my religious beliefs have changed.

I have been fighting this decision for a long time and have gone through periods of trying to “seek the truth and draw close to God” to varying levels of unbelief and back again. God never answered my prayers or spoke to me, so he wasn’t much help when I tried to seek him out. And all the faith in the world was not answering some of the fundamental questions I was having about religion. What follows from here are my reasons for abandoning my belief in God. It is not my intent to convince anyone to see my point of view, only to explain how I arrived at my conclusion. My arguments were developed from others who shared with me their stories of deconversion.

As a Christian I believed in God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit as a Trinity; angels and demons; prophesy; and the coming judgment and heaven and hell. I believed in the Genesis account of the creation, in a 6000-year-old earth, in Adam and Eve, Noah and his ark, in Elijah and in Elisha. I believed I was chosen by God for eternal life by faith in Christ, in supernatural healings, in words of knowledge, in speaking in tongues, freewill, and in the Bible as God’s perfect revealed word. I was as mainstream Evangelical Christian as the next person with just as orthodox theology as everyone else. I believed in all these things and thought anyone who did not believe in them was a fool. When I met people who believed in another religion or in no religion at all, I was dumfounded as to how they could not see the apparent simple truth and beauty of CHRISTIANITY, because “only a fool says there is not God”. I would think to myself that, “God had put a ‘veil’ over their eyes” or that God had “Hardened their hearts” to the His Truth.

My path to atheism began as I worked on my master’s degree in ancient history. As a student of ancient history, I learned about ancient civilizations and cultures and their attendant mythologies. I wondered how those people could believe in such bizarre stories of gods and goddesses, monsters and demons and fantastical creatures. How could any rational person believe in such wildly absurd things? I never considered the stories I believed in the Bible were just as peculiar as these other ancient tales. I learned that nearly every culture had some form of religion and that religion evolved as a way for man to make sense of his universe. There have literally been tens of thousands of ‘gods’ who have been worshiped at one point or another over the course of human history. People didn’t know how lightning was formed or the mechanics of plate tectonics that cause earthquakes, or why rainbows exist so they invented gods that controlled these “mystically powerful” forces that they could not understand. Some civilizations had hundreds of gods, for fertility, weather, the sun, the harvest, death, and the list goes on. Other cultures decided against the pantheon had just one god that controlled everything himself. As mankind’s understanding and knowledge grows, his needs for a god or god’s to explain the unexplained decreases. Greek sailors don’t need to sacrifice bulls to appease Poseidon before setting out to sea; they just need to check the weather channel first. All of this is summed up succinctly in a quote from the 1700’s makes so much sense to me now:
"If we go back to the beginning we shall find that ignorance and fear created the gods; that fancy, enthusiasm, or deceit adorned or disfigured them; that weakness worships them; that credulity preserves them, and that custom, respect and tyranny support them in order to make the blindness of men serve their own interests."

"If ignorance of Nature gave birth to gods, then knowledge of Nature is calculated to destroy them."

- Baron d’Holbach

Man has been searching for explanations since he learned rub sticks together and make fire. Fire was magic at first, but we all know it is a chemical reaction caused by friction and combustible materials in an oxygen rich environment; no fire-god is required. This is a common thread through all of human history. One of the biggest unknown things that man has tried to explain is death. All sentient beings have within them a strong desire to live. Animals don’t commit suicide, and humans as highly intelligent animals, have a strong desire to live. It is this desire to live on that gave birth to the idea of an afterlife. For all living creatures death is inevitable. But because humans are so completely self aware and have the mental ability to contemplate our own deaths, we desire to live forever. Even faith-strong elderly Christians who believe they are going to heaven the very moment they die, wish to stay alive, this is common to all or mankind.

Our death does not need an explanation; it is simply a natural part of life. The Norse had Valhalla, Egyptians the Underworld, Hindu reincarnation, Muslims Paradise, Christians Heaven, and the Jews resurrection. All of these were made by man to give him hope of some way to live on forever. I realized through my study of history that Christianity was but one of a long string of religious ideas that have been around for thousands of years and is in no way unique. I didn’t believe all the weird improbable stories of other ancient religions or myths. Julius Caesar was reportedly born of a virgin; Roman historian Suetonius said the Caesar Augustus bodily rose to heaven after he died; and the Buddha was supposedly born with the ability to speak, Mohammad was a merchant who was visited by angles who gave him the Koran as was Joseph Smith and I dismiss all of these accounts as fables, myths, or outright lies, but accepted the Bible as absolute truth.

Believing in God might give people an inner strength not available to the atheist. In a similar way, believing in Santa Claus gives a certain magic to Christmas morning not available to the non-Santa-believing child. There may be strength in believing in something, but believing in something, no matter how deeply, does not make that something a reality. Faith does not equal reality.

At first it was terrifying for me to think that the universe is an impersonal place with no plan for the future. If there is no eternal plan, then one day the sun will die, and along with it, all life here on Earth. Humans have a deep need for something to believe in, for a purpose, and it was this need that kept me in the church for as long as it did. I know the Christian response well. This desire to believe is proof of mans “God shaped hole in his soul”, that God formed us with a need to have communion with him. I have used that line and believed it myself for a long time.

Believing in God might be more comforting; giving a worldview that has eternal hopes and possibilities, but again, believing in things even if everyone else does too, doesn't make those things true. Just as children eventually leave behind belief in Santa and the Easter Bunny and tooth fairy, I have left my belief in an invisible omnipresent, omniscient God that dwells in my heart and intervenes in my life. Belief in God is nothing more than a method to provide answers to questions that are unanswerable. Like, what happens when we die? Or, what is the point of life.”

When I see someone walking down the street talking seriously to himself, I could rightfully judged him to be mentally ill. When I hear children talking to imaginary friends or their dolls, I think they are being cute, but it’s a childish behavior. When I heard people in church, including me, talking to Almighty invisible God, I thought that was perfectly normal. I thought that way because I was taught to think that way. A 5 year old that believes in Santa in cute, a 40 year old that does is mentally ill and in need of medication. Why do most children believe in Santa but no sane adults do? The answer is simple. Our parents and culture taught us to believe. We are not born with any knowledge of Santa so we were taught about him as we grow up. We were told that he sees us when were sleeping, knows if we have been bad or good, and brings presents to all the good children of the world. We sing songs about Santa and leave offerings of cookies and milk. Savvy parents can use this belief in Santa to great effect in the fall and winter to get kids to behave lest Santa find out and leave a lump of coal and not a train set. But as we grew older we started to have questions, logical ones that most of us develop around 6 or 7 years old. How does Santa fit down a chimney? How can he eat all of the cookies people leave for him? How can he fit all of those toys on his sled? Why have I never seen him? The questions have no rational answers so gradually it becomes apparent even for young children that Santa is make believe. It is a spirit of goodwill and magic that children can enjoy but wears off as they grow up. But while children stop believing in Santa due to a total absence of any empirical, verifiable evidence of the miraculous claims, people continue to believe in a God who has all of the same features as Santa with no more evidence of existence than an ancient book and what our parents or friends taught us.

I believed that Christianity was the answer to life and the absolute truth. But now I find it irrational to think I believed in a God who created all of the universe in six literal days; that women were created from a man’s rib; a snake, a donkey, and a burning bush all spoke a human language; the entire world was flooded and mankind exterminated like so many cockroaches, covering the highest mountains to drown out evil; all animal species, millions of them, rode on one boat together; language variations stem from the tower of Babel; Moses had a magic wand; the Nile river turned to blood and it rained frogs; witches, wizards, and sorcerers really exist with real powers; food rained from the sky for 40 years; people were cured by the sight of a brass serpent on a pole; the sun stood still to help Joshua win a battle, and it went backward for King Hezekiah; men survived unscathed in a fiery furnace; a detached hand floated in the air and wrote on a wall; 3 men followed a star in the sky which directed them to a particular house; Jesus was born of a virgin mother impregnated by a ghost. Jesus walked on water unaided; fish and bread magically multiplied to feed the hungry; water was turned into wine; mental illness is caused by demons; a “devil” with wings exists who causes all evil; demons can possess animals; people were healed by stepping into a pool stirred up by angels; disembodied voices spoke from the sky; Jesus vanished and later materialized from thin air; people were healed by Peter’s shadow; angels broke people out of jail; a fiery lake of eternal torment awaits unbelievers under the earth ... while there is life-after-death in a city which is 1,500 miles cubed, with mansions and food, for Christians only.

All of these stories violate natural law, contradict science, and fail to correspond with any reality, common sense or logic. I can see that now, and I can separate truth from fantasy, just like I did with Santa. I know all of the rebuttals; God can perform miracles and do what he pleases so we must have faith in him, or better yet, these God did these miracles and are proof of his existence so that we might “know him and his mighty power”, but Jesus comes and said only wicked people seek a sign or proof to believe, so at what point does the argument become circular? I cannot accept these outlandish Bible stories on “faith” anymore. If God does exist and gave us a rational and inquisitive mind, why would he perform irrational acts that defy the natural laws of his creation and not expect us to question the reality of such acts? As a Christian, I refused to believe any of the extra-Biblical miracles and stories from the ancient world; I don’t know why I never applied the same critical examination to my own beliefs. I wouldn’t believe someone who came up to me and said that a horse spoke to them and neither would you, unless they brought you to the horse and you heard it for yourself. Even then your first reaction would be to look for the hoax, that it was some kind of David Blaine illusion, and not real because you know it is impossible for horses to talk to people. Now, if real, no kidding miracles where happening all the time then it would be plausible to believe the claims in the Bible, because we would live in an irrational universe where irrational actions take place, but alas, we do not. Dead people do not come back to life, men don’t walk on water, and the Sun does not decide to stop in the sky. Coincidences happen, real miracles do not.

The God outlined in the Bible is a warrior God, exactly like so many other ancient tribal religions at the time. Though He allegedly said “Thou shalt not kill,” he ordered death for all His opposition, wholesale drowning and mass exterminations of people; he punishes offspring to the fourth generation for their fathers sins (Ex. 20:5); ordered pregnant women and children to be ripped up (Hos. 13:16); He made demands for sacrifices of animal and human blood to appease His anger; He is partial to one race of people; judges women to be inferior to men; created a hell to torture unbelievers and sinners for all eternity; created evil (Is. 45:7); discriminated against the handicapped, which he himself made!(Lev. 21:18-23); He ordered virgins to be kept as spoils of war and everyone else slaughtered (Num. 31:15-18, Deut. 21:11-14); spread feces on people’s faces (Mal. 2:3); He sent bears to devour children who dared to teas a prophet (II Kings 2:23-24); He punishes people with venomous snakes, wild dogs, dragons, drunkenness, the sword, slavery, arrows, axes, fire, famine, and infanticide; and said fathers should eat their sons (Ez. 5:10). Was that the picture of the all loving God I served?

Then Jesus came and said, “I and my father are one,” and reaffirmed “every jot and tittle” of the Old Testament law. (Mt. 5:18) He preached the same judgment to come: vengeance and death, wrath and distress, hell and torture for all non-believers. Jesus believed in demons, angels and spirits. He never denounced the subjugation of slaves or women. Women were excluded as disciples and as guests at his heavenly table. Except for hell he introduced nothing new to ethics or philosophy. He was disrespectful of his mother and brothers; he said we should hate our parents and desert our families. (Mt. 10:35-36, Lk. 14:26). He denounced anger, but was often angry himself. (Mt. 5:22, Mk. 3:5) He called people “fools” (Mt. 23:17,19), “serpents,” and “white sepulchers,” though he warned that such language puts you in danger of hell. (Mt. 5:22) He said “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth. I came not to send peace, but a sword." (Mt. 10:34) He irrationally cursed and withered a fig tree for being barren out of season, but the Gospel writers couldn’t agree if it happened immediately or the next morning. (Mt. 21:19) He mandated burning unbelievers. (Jn. 15:6) He stole a horse. (Lk. 19:30-33) He told people to cut off hands, feet, eyes and sexual organs. (Mt. 5:29-30, 19:12) Jesus said good works should be seen, then not to be seen. (Mt. 5:16, 6:1-4) The writers of Matthew and Luke could not agree on his genealogy, contradicting the Old Testament, and giving Jesus two discrepant lines through Joseph who wasn’t his father anyway.

I began to develop moral problems with my concepts of original sin, total human depravity, substitutionary forgiveness, intolerance, eternal punishment. I do not believe it is justice to punish someone with eternal torture for a finite crime. Hell is punitive in its nature, there is no corrective purpose other than to make someone suffer in the most horrific manner possible. Yet I once believed that God was just in pronouncing this judgment upon non-believers. Would you or I approve of torture for a crime? Are God’s ways really higher than ours? As a Christian I would say, “We cannot question God’s righteous judgment”. Yes, in fact I can. And I, along with everyone I know, have a much better sense of justice than the God of the Bible does. The Bible says we are all born sinners, all will sin, and all will die as a punishment. So, God created me sinful, and then condemns me for that sin, and then he offers me the cure! Would I bow down and be eternally thankful to someone who poisoned me when they gave me the antidote?

One of the biggest reasons that lead me to unbelief is the problem of evil and suffering. During a course I took in Ancient Greek Philosophy and History, I learned of a philosopher named Epicurus and his logical arguments against the existence of a God/Gods based on the existence of evil in the world. His logic is explained as such:

If God is willing to prevent evil, but not able to---Then he is not omnipotent

If he is able, but not willing---Then he is malevolent

If he is both able and willing---then where does evil come from?

If he is neither able nor willing---Why call him God?


This argument makes complete sense to me and I am no longer a Christian because I cannot reconcile the existence of a loving God with the superfluous nature of evil in our world. If God is so all-knowing he can perceive evil plans while they are but a dim conception, yet he does not impart this knowledge to us, and as a result we suffer. If God is ever-present, he is there when a child is being raped, a pregnant woman murdered, millions being gassed and when an innocent child is hit by a car. God was there in person and did nothing to stop it. If I were in a room where someone was abusing a child and did nothing to stop it, I would be just as guilty of the crime and liable for whatever happened. But we don’t expect God to stop this evil when any thinking and rational human being would step in and intervene. This evident inaction is not the action of an all loving God. If God is real, he is guilty of negligence on a cosmic order. God had the ability to stop the child from being raped and murdered, but was not willing to lift a finger, making him completely malevolent.

If God is all-powerful then he can prevent these evil acts from happening (He can do this and still allow for free will). This means that the tragic loss of life due to natural disasters could be entirely avoided. After all, God is in control of these things isn’t he? So God sends His natural disasters to make havoc on hummanity, how nice of him. Is he ‘proving his power’ by causing so much human misery? And who is there to step in and help the survivors? God? Nope, it’s sinful human beings coming to help their fellow man. All the pointless bloodshed of the 20th century could have also been completely bypassed, if God could only have “opened the doors” for Hitler to become a successful artist in Vienna and adverted the Holocaust for His ‘chosen people’. To me, God's power is not evident. If God is all-knowing, then he knows that his failure to act in opposition to incredible evil and tragedy leads people into a state of unbelief. Yet he provides no rational alternative. If God is all-loving, then He WILL DO SOMETHING to stop evil—not sometime in the distant future, but NOW, as any feeling, caring sentient being would, after all “He cares for you”. Yet he consistently does NOTHING and allows evil to befall his people. I know the rebuttal to this as well, “His ways are not our ways, His will is not our will”, or “we have free will that why evil happen, we live in a fallen world”. Or, “God tests us through suffering and tragedy to make us cling to him even more.” That makes God capricious and still malevolent. I could not believe the tales anymore. I had to stop making excuses for my God and stop trying to reconcile his ‘actions’ and ‘inaction’ with the reality of the world around me.

It is all too convenient that the Bible describes God as being the perfect being, but at the same time offers him an out for his imperfect world by placing the all the blame for the evil and imperfection in the world on our ‘sin’. Regardless of what Revelation 20-22 or any other passage of Scripture says about how the story will end, I am deeply disturbed that God apparently has the power to stop evil in his world but does nothing. I avoided using the word "suffering" here because Christians have a tendency to associate it with something noble--and in some situations a person can certainly develop their character from persevering through hardships (think Lance Armstrong). What really troubles me is not the difficulties and trials that we learn and grow from. What troubles me are the cold, brutal acts of evil that leave death, destruction, prolonged pain and misery in their wake.

I know the existence of evil and suffering is a philosophical stumbling block for many people. The primary questions they pose are: "If God is real, and God created everything, why did He create evil?" "Why did a personal, loving God create a world in which evil exists?" "Why did God give man freedom to commit evil acts?" Atheists’ reason, "Surely, an all-knowing God of love would not allow evil to exist in His world." As a Christian I heard these arguments and debated them based on the Biblical apologetics.

The response to the question I believed was summed up in God's nature and His plan for mankind. The logic was this; how could God allow for love without the potential for evil? God could have created robots that do nothing more than forever saying, "I love you, I love you, I love you." But such creatures would be incapable of a real loving relationship. Love is a choice, and the Bible says God desires a real love relationship with His creation. Love is not real unless was have the ability to not love. One of God's supposed attributes is omniscience. God knew that in a world with choice, there would be much evil – and to choose not to love is evil by definition. However, there would also be the capacity for real love. Apologist Alvin Plantinga wrote, "An all loving, all powerful, all knowing Being could permit as much evil as He pleased without forfeiting His claim to being all loving, so long as for every evil state of affairs He permits there is an accompanying greater good". The potential for love outweighs the existence of evil, especially if that evil can only exist for a finite time. Evil is a side effect of love. Suffering and death are a side effect of evil/sin (Romans 5:12). The Bible says that this side effect is only for a limited time. Evil serves the limited purpose of establishing real love relationships between creation and the Creator, and evil will be done away with after that purpose is achieved. "And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides forever" (I John 2:17). That was my established argument for the question of evil. But my perspective began to change as I studied the Bible closely.

In my original argument the presupposition was that love and evil were mutually exclusive. However from the New Testament Luke says: "For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? “For even sinners also love those that love them." (Luke 6:32) Apparently even the wicked are capable of love. Another thought that comes to my mind is that although my wife and I love each other very much, neither of us cares about other men and women in that way. I have no such emotion when it comes to the rest of the women in the world, and she has no interest in other men. I also love my children very much, but other people's children rarely enter my thoughts. The argument that for God or people to experience love, then evil has to exist is false dilemma. I can't help but wonder if I am truly evil, since I do not love every single person in the world. Why is it so impossible for Christians to imagine the likelihood of someone not loving God without being evil in the process? Why couldn't God create creatures with the capacity of either loving Him or not, without them also being murderers, sadists and rapists in the process?

Another attribute of God was that he never changed. "For I am the LORD, I change not" (Malachi 3:6) Since God never changes, what changed that he somehow at some point decided he needed people to love and be loved by? Oh, and I wasn't aware that God needed anything at all. I was under the impression that God was without needs, wants or desires. A desire implies a lack of something in a person. If I desire a meal, it is likely that I lack enough nutrition for the day. I desire things because I need things. I perceive that I lack something and therefore strive to fill that need. Apparently God doesn't have enough love so he needs us. I would have to agree that real love is only real if it is accompanied by the capacity and choice to not love. However, as I tried to illustrate above, the ability to not love someone does not equate to evil. I do not love lots of people, but I do not hate them and wish all manner of evil on them. But this is exactly the way I see God's love. For example God loves a certain person. The person is not interested in God for whatever reason. God feels like his love has been spurned. God demonizes the person who is just not interested in his love and calls him or her evil. God gets angry and shouts, “I will carry out great vengeance on them and punish them in my wrath. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I take vengeance on them.”(Ezek 25:17) and sends them off to rot in eternal torment in hell forever and ever for the ‘sin’ of not loving Him.

The “free will” defense as the answer to the problem of evil, but let’s look at “free will” for a second. The Christian God loves me so much that he gives me the opportunity to live blissfully forever in His presence, or be horribly tortured for all eternity in Hell. What kind of “free will” choice is that? It’s like someone holding a blowtorch to your face and demanding a confession or they will melt out your eyes out. Not really a fair choice there is it? Does God really want me to serve Him and confess my need and love for him to avoid the torture He created for me if I don’t? Is a confession extracted under torture or the threat of torture reliable and sincere? If I love God, and he is my savior and watched over me and was in control of everything, why does He allow me to suffer so much? Is it to make me love Him all the more? In Psychology it’s called the “battered wife syndrome”. “But he really loves me”, is what abused wives say to justify the pain their husbands put them through. Or, “I deserved it”. How much did God really love Job? I now say that if Job really loved God after all he put him through he was suffering like that battered wife.

At this very moment somewhere in the world a child is being molested. These are horrible crimes that destroy childhood innocence. After the act is over the shame, self-hate, bitterness, anxiety, distrust, and scars never go away. All of this stays with a victim for life. Worse still, many of the perpetrators go undiscovered and unpunished. There is simply no value in this tragedy, none at all, and I was tired of all of the excuses offered by the Church and systematic theology. What angers me is the thought that a holy, loving, omnipresent God would stand by and do nothing while a child is raped and then buried alive in a shallow grave. After all he is there in the same room as the child and the molester. Christians believe that God would punish those could do something, but chose to do nothing. Heck, they believe that the courts should punish someone who could have stopped the crime and did nothing. And yet...God still does nothing. This is where the free-will defense comes to bear. Yet, there are stories of God intervening (even hardening the hearts) of men when it suits his purposes. If molestation is not worth intervening in, then I don't know what is. What is God’s purpose in allowing this? Does it make sense to you? It seems entirely incongruent with His character to stand on the sidelines and watch. So, I am left to conclude that such a God does not exist.

As I have gone on, I have gathered more insight and realized that I have not believed in God for a very long time, and here is another analogy why. When I wrecked my shoulder, did I go to church first or to the hospital for help? If my house was on fire with my family trapped inside, would I kneel and pray before or after I called the fire department? Most sane people, including myself, answer these questions the same. If my house were on fire and my wife and the children were trapped inside and I did nothing but pray to God to save them, would you think I was ‘holy’ and ‘spiritual’? Or would you rightfully think me criminally negligent?

When it comes to the truly important, urgent, and practical things in life, did people trust God to be a “very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46), or when we need present help in times of trouble do we go to our fellow humans? The answer is obvious; when I need “very present help in trouble”, the number I call is 911, not the local church. And why is that? Is God unable to help me in my time of urgent need? Is He unwilling? Or is it that, when the stakes are at their highest, the matter is urgent, and most importantly the consequences are something you can actually see, is your faith in man greater than your faith in God? Mine is.

I have faith in mankind, because I trust my experiences. Regardless of how many poetic Bible verses I can recite that promise God’s help in times of need, no matter how fervently I argued against non-Christians, no matter how enthusiastically I shared the Gospel, when the chips are down and it comes to something urgent and real, I wholeheartedly rely upon ‘sinful’, imperfect people. Did this say something negative about me as a Christian? I don’t think so; I think it says something very real about God. When it comes to anything we can see, hear, touch, taste, or smell, God does not live up to His Word. He is not here or there and I knew it and no matter how I tried to reconcile it, it faith just didn’t work.

I have come to accept that God does not exist, and since one cannot logically prove a universal negative, it is incumbent upon the one the making the positive claim to prove God’s existence. As a Christian, I could not prove God’s existence without circular reasoning so I gave up trying. Praying for God to ‘reveal’ himself to me was not working to well. Here is what I was taught to believe:
  • Premise #1: The God of the Bible is real because the Bible says so.
  • Premise #2: The Bible is true because the God in the Bible says so.
  • Premise #3: Any questions or doubts, reverts back to premise #1.
Naturally I recognize that this is an oversimplification of the matter, but none-the-less this to a large degree, succinctly encapsulates the Christian “proofs” of God’s existence and involvement with humans. Then there is the other ‘proofs’ which are the very subjective claims of “personal relationships” and “changed hearts”. But I now see this “relationship with Jesus” was ridiculous. If he was real and cared about ‘His’ people and was involved in their lives, what does it say about God when I believed he answers my prayer for a great promotion at work, but ignored the prayers of others suffering from starvation and genocide?

As a Christian, I would demand irrefutable proofs for what I considered the outlandish claims of evolutionists and atheists. Yet I never demanded the same type of evidence for the even more remarkable claims of the supernatural made in the Bible. My thought process seems so much clearer now than it was when the “eyes of faith” and “my heart” guided me. There can really be only one explanation as I look back in retrospect: I believed only what I wanted to believe.

Whether or not I have something better than Christianity to offer is not relevant to the question of the existence of the biblical God. What is pertinent is that I am honest with myself by demanding the application of the same type of evidence to the claims of religion as are expected of scientists and again for me the proof comes up short. There is no proof of God, only faith.

In conclusion, I do not believe in unicorns, ghosts, elves, goblins, Bigfoot, UFO’s, Cyclopes, Zeus, Thor, the Loch Ness Monster, Allah, Buddha, Astrology, Greek Gods, Roman Gods, Chupacabra, Vishnu or Brahma, or Christ. There is no credible evidence for any of their existence. I know this is a shock to the family and will cause division. I wish I could keep on pretending I believe for the sake of peace, but I cannot in good conscious do that anymore. I am not ‘led astray’ or ‘demon possessed’ because they don’t exist. I hold that everyone is entitled to believe as they wish, and I will not try and “de-convert” anyone around me. If anyone asks how I came to this conclusion, I will tell them why. Hopefully this letter explains that. In the end, everyone is an atheist when you think about it, if you don’t believe in Poseidon, Zeus, Mars, Krishna, Allah et. al. you are an atheist when it comes to those deities and don’t believe in their existence. I just happen to believe in one fewer god than you do.