Sent in by Virginia
Christianity thrives on human suffering and yearn for community. It was precisely under these circumstances that I committed myself to Christ at 19 years old, when my family got into serious trouble -- father filed for bankruptcy, my parents separated.
With all the yearning for care and love upon the utter shattering of my family, my high school pals who were Christians befriended me.
I began fervently witnessing Christ, became a cell group leader on Bible study, witnessed to friends and relatives about Jesus and the salvation, using the tracts supplied from my church.
I was active in church and in my college years, also leaded evangelizing activities witnessing Jesus. However, I sensed in the entire ethos of this set of belief, some incompleteness.
It promised one being "new in Christ", with Christ Lordship, a person should be filled with blissful joy and contentment. It was not the case, the blissful atmosphere common in Christian community were mainly externalized activities expressing contentment.
In the core, the person's problem, their pains and hurts were never really addressed -- the religious experience serves only to numb one's sense.
I gradually felt the sharp incongruity as I became more aware of the many contradictions within the Bible, and contradictions with contemporary social reality.
For example, the Bible prohibits woman from assuming any leadership role or ministerial role, yet I saw many women who are talented leaders and fine ministers.
Similarly, the way Genesis described the origins of life do not reconcile with clear scientific evidence.
Yet the most disturbing aspect of Christianity was its hypocrisy. As I got acquainted with church leadership, with larger circles of Christian, their behavior and methods of dealing with others is so unchristian -- lies, deceits, double-talks, abusive use of powers etc. -- all carried out under the veil of a smiling face uttering Jesus' love.
For years, I wrestled the issues, trying to find ways out by reading contemporary theological works from Karl Bart, Hans Kung etc. -- I was overwhelmed with long elaboration of a set of belief attempting to "re-explain" the Bible -- which raised more questions than answers -- the Bible became so malleable that you don't really needed it -- just place any contemporary philosophical thought and slab the "God" label and that's it.
I considered Catholicism, primarily due to its beautiful liturgy, yet I found myself avoiding the key question -- Christianity started from a immutable assumption -- we owe our existence to God and God is the one that give us life and meaning. We are not permitted to ask if God existed, this is something the Christian theologian referred to as stopping "infinite regression" -- but is this the right place to stop ?
Attempt to use existing apologetic materials on the origins of life, creation etc. lead me to nowhere -- for I read enough materials that clearly debunks ideas like Intelligent Design etc.
I finally asked the question: do our cosmos come to existence because of a creation ? My discovery tells me that, we simply cannot find evidence that our cosmos are created -- Christians like the sound of a creation by God more and cannot bear the seemingly impersonal description of how matters/energy exchanges.
I look to atheist sites like infidel.org and books by Richard Dawkins -- and there I realize that Christianity is the "gap" worshiper -- whenever there's something inexplicable, "God" is the default -- the inconsistency of Christian's approach to answer questions about scientific truth prove to be a very strong push factor that cause me to say no -- I am not into superstition -- no matter how Christians packaged their "scientific ideas" -- that very assumption of God (requiring unquestioning faith) cannot be accepted -- it leaves the ultimate core in the balance -- we based our outlook of life, morality etc. on something that simply "accepted as truth".
Moreover, on issues of morality, God is silent and permits so many flavours of understanding -- hardly a sure way for basis of morality.
As I satisfied and convinced myself that God existence is so improbable, I announced my resignation from Christianity, and embraced atheism -- only to my surprise that I can let go of the burden of defending a set of inconsistent ideas and be free to be a person of reason.
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)