Sent in by Michael F
I myself am an ex-Christian of the pentecostal/evangelical type. I joined the church after I had an experience reading and understanding parts of the Bible. I felt as though God himself was speaking to me and giving me wisdom. Coming from a rather "spiritual" lifestyle, the scriptures appeared to have the real spiritual meat I was searching for.
I later came to understand salvation through Christ,and had given myself to Him, no looking back. I left my finance, got rid of old literature, cut off ties with people, and gave myself as a servant of Christ.
Problems arose while studying the Bible. My main stumbling block was the whole idea of an imminent second coming of Christ. How could the Bible be the perfect word of God, when Jesus, Paul, and John kept spouting of of the nearness of the second coming. It was not something to be overlooked, since it is a central prophecy in the New Testament. Either God's word means what it says, or it doesn't.
By this point I became afraid, because Christ was my life and the Bible was my guide map. I was a youth leader, on the worship team, and an evangelist to New York City. I became angry at God because His Word was very confusing. I felt stupid telling people that the Bible was the TRUTH, when already it was showing itself to be unreliable.
Another incident occurred with a friend of mine.
He has a degenerate nerve disease that is literally killing him. Christ is his life. Two times, someone from his church, a "prophet" as they call themselves, claimed that God had healed my friend of his disease. One day, my friend approached me, and told me that God had healed him. He truly believed it, despite the reality of the situation. All of the symptoms of his disease were still there: twitching and slurred speech. I quickly became dizzy and sick. I felt that just as he believed he was healed and really was not, so I myself was believing in something that I already had come to doubt: my biblical faith. After a few weeks, my friend eventually came to terms with the fact that he was not healed.
I became more frustrated than anything, because I needed to leave this "truth," but was afraid. I feared God's wrath. Then, I finally made up my mind and said "God, if you're there, and you are as you say you are, save me from a bad mistake, otherwise I need to be moving on. If you are a God of truth, then you will know why I am leaving."
I left 4 months ago, and am very glad. It is a difficult process, emotionally, but when you know why it is you are doing something, and have chosen to follow through, the whole challenge becomes a lesson.
I still believe in a God, and draw strength from the hope that there is a purpose in all of this suffering. But as for fundamental faith, I must mark it off as another one of those things that we human beings have created in order to explain the unexplainable.
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Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)