A Reluctant Start

I don’t want to do this. I want to get on with my life. But I must pause first.

I need to know who I am to get on with my life. I need to decide what I think is true to determine who I am, and who I aspire to be. And I need to search to find that truth.

Background

I was Catholic until I was 12.

One day, instead of taking me to church, my dad tells me that he’s been looking into some things, and he’s found that some of what the Catholic Church teaches doesn’t line up with what’s in the Bible. Something about what he was saying just “seemed right” to me. (More on this later.)

Shortly thereafter, we started attending an Independent Fundamental church. After a few weeks, Dad and I met with one of the deacons, who presented the gospel to me, so I prayed and got saved.

I guess I was an “excited young Christian”. I wanted to know more and grow in the faith. I asked to attend a Christian high school–and so I did, for all four years. I also studied engineering at a conservative Christian university–again, my choice.

Not too long after graduating, I became pretty frustrated with what the Christian life was for me–especially with my “overactive conscience”. So I just kind of “set my faith aside”. I regret that now.

Some events came to pass recently which forced me to face that cognitive dissonance that I had lived with for several years. I realized I don’t know who I am anymore.

Present Day

I’m not content to continue as a “non-practicing Christian”. So which part will change? This time, I want to examine the basis for my faith–the rational, historical basis–in an attempt to find what’s true.

I did some research on a series of questions regarding spiritual things, and some of the big questions of life. I thought I finally had it whittled down to the core issue of my fork in the road with the question, “is the (Christian) Bible the Word of God?”…but a little research showed that can mean many different things. (See biblical inerrancy and infallibility.)

So I whittled it down further: did the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth really happen? Historically. Since this is the crux of the Christian faith (I Cor. 15:12-19), it seems like it’s really the core question to ask. (Please put any discussion of the specifics in comments to my next post.)

Why I’m Here

So why blog about it? Because I want help.

I figure if the Christian faith is based on rational premises, then it ought to be able to stand up to scrutiny. And if it isn’t, then I want to know, and adjust accordingly. (In other words, what my dad was saying about the Bible and the Church–I don’t want to believe it just because it “seems right” to me.)

I’ve found some blogs of a few “deconverts”, and I’m hoping that a few of you will be so kind as to follow my blog, and provide some input in the comments. I’m especially interested in those of you who have done research into the rational and historical basis for Christianity.

I also hope to get some well-researched, still-Christian followers. I haven’t found as many blogs of this type. If you know some, please comment with links.

Bias

Let me admit, I’m kind of biased both ways.

I want the resurrection (Christianity, the Bible, etc.) to be true, so I can have the hope of eternal life. I also miss the community of believers, and the deep personal connections that sometimes came with that.

I want it to be false because it seemed to me that Jesus’ yoke was not easy, and his burden was not light for me (Matt. 11:30). It’s possible that I was doing it wrong–that I was a Pharisee–that I never really understood grace–etc… I experienced a lot of guilt over things that didn’t even seem to bother other Christians. So much conviction, so many things I felt I had to give up. IOW, all the reasons I set my faith aside to begin with.

If it really is the truth, then god I hope it was me doing it wrong.

If I come to think it’s false, then I feel like I’d appreciate this life more–but that new big unknown about what (if anything) comes next–replacing the hope of eternal life–that would be a big loss.

Also, it’d be great to be rid of that whole us/them dichotomy. It seems it would be easier to love people and do good to them in this life, without having the (perhaps not-so) hidden agenda of converting them, for their eternal good. Of course, those could be more instances of me “doing it wrong”.

Now What?

If you think you might be interested in following along with my journey–especially if you think you may have something to contribute–feel free to follow the blog, and/or leave a comment.

Advertisements

74 thoughts on “A Reluctant Start

  1. Howie

    Hi,
    This first post of yours was very honest and transparent which I thought was very refreshing. I’m very interested in reading along. Thanks for stopping by my blog!
    I just updated the links on the rights side of my blog with a section labelled “Debates”. That may be a good place for you to get an idea of many different viewpoints in your search. I personally wish there were more debates on a much more wide variety of religions, but there are several practical reasons why this is not the case. You can find some other very interesting pages in the “Links” section right below the debates. As you’ve seen from my blog, I am no longer a believer in any religion. I would encourage you to search as best you can and not let others bully or pressure you into the belief that they want you to have (including me! ). By opening yourself up on the web here you will likely run into lots of people who will want to sway you toward their way of seeing reality. Remain strong to yourself and what fits best to what your own reasoning, learning and experiences tell you! If I ever offer you any opinions of my own I want you to know that I offer them simply as things to think about, not to pressure or guilt you into seeing things my way.
    Best of luck!
    Howie

    Like

    Reply
    1. ratamacue0 Post author

      Fantastic–thanks for the compliment and feedback.

      I’ve been watching a few debates lately. Some people criticize them though, due to the limitations of the format–like limited time to respond, and the inability of the debaters to research to answer arguments they hadn’t anticipated. Any thoughts on this?

      Like

      Reply
      1. Howie

        I absolutely agree with that – those are some of the drawbacks of the debates. Another drawback is that some very intelligent people with incredibly inspirational and factual things to say may just be horrible debaters, and then there are people who are just awesome at debate tactics but when you dig deeper into some of their stuff it doesn’t pan out so well.
        These are just things to keep in mind. The thing I do like about debates though is that I can right away get 2 different opposing viewpoints, which is what I like (actually, I’d like to get more than 2!) Because for every point that one person may have there are obviously opposing ideas that should be thought through as well.
        But yes, I believe that to get closer to truth reading more deeply beyond just the debates is essential – but again I try my best to read different viewpoints from many different angles.

        Like

        Reply
  2. Nate

    This is a great first post, and I’ll definitely be following along for the ride. As far as knowledgeable Christians that you could reach out to, there’s an Aussie who goes by “unkleE” — you can find his blogs here:
    http://www.is-there-a-god.info/blog/
    http://theway21stcentury.wordpress.com/

    I was raised in a fundamentalist version of Christianity that preached biblical inerrancy — I assume your denomination was similar. unkleE’s theology is much more liberal/moderate (and preferable) than the one I grew up with. While unkleE and I often disagree, I have a great deal of respect for him as a person and as a Christian. He’s sincere, and that counts for a lot in my book. So if you’d like the input of a Christian, I highly recommend him.

    I was going to recommend Howie as well, for another atheistic (or possibilian 🙂 ) perspective, but I see you’ve already connected with him. Another atheist whom I recommend checking out is a guy named Matt, and his blog is here:
    http://jerichobrisance.com/

    I look forward to seeing where your journey takes you. Good luck. 🙂

    Like

    Reply
    1. ratamacue0 Post author

      Hi Nate,

      Thanks so much for joining me, and for the feedback. At your recommendation, I left a comment (currently awaiting moderation) on unkleE’s blog, so hopefully he’ll join in, too. (I had thought of him, but didn’t know his URLs, so thanks.)

      And, indeed, having spent some time reading your blog, I came across Matt’s, too. Very glad to see he’s now following mine, too. 🙂

      Like

      Reply
  3. Jbars

    Hi, ratamacueo.
    I found your blog this morning through your comment on Nate’s blog. (Not sure why, but a WordPress notification came to me saying he had a new comment on his About page. I’m so glad it did!) I really appreciate your honesty and openness in sharing where you’re at. You probably know by now that I sent a link to your blog to my husband (Matt at Jericho Brisance). I think you two may have a lot in common. And now I see that Nate has already recommended Jericho Brisance. Thanks, Nate!
    I can relate to you and your place of seeking. It was only about a year ago when I was in a very similar place. My journey isn’t over yet, and I am looking forward to tagging along as you go through yours. I’ve starting “following” and look forward to reading more from you.
    Janelle

    Like

    Reply
    1. ratamacue0 Post author

      Hi Jbars,

      Thanks for chiming in. 🙂

      I found your blog this morning through your comment on Nate’s blog. (Not sure why, but a WordPress notification came to me saying he had a new comment on his About page. I’m so glad it did!)

      Technical sidenote: You probably checked the “Notify me of follow-up comments via email” box when you left your comments there. I think that blogs with nested comments may only send emails when someone replies to your comment, with that box checked. Nate’s blog appears to have no nesting in the comments, so since you had (presumably) checked the box, you got notified of my comment. I think.

      You probably know by now that I sent a link to your blog to my husband (Matt at Jericho Brisance). I think you two may have a lot in common.

      We’re emailing. 🙂

      I can relate to you and your place of seeking. It was only about a year ago when I was in a very similar place. My journey isn’t over yet, and I am looking forward to tagging along as you go through yours.

      If you care to share more about your journey, I’d be interested to hear. (Here in the comments is fine, or you can get my email address from Matt for now, since I haven’t added a “contact me” form here yet.)

      Like

      Reply
  4. unkleE

    Hi ratamacue0,
    Thanks for inviting me here. Like the others I was touched by this post and your openness and honesty. And I love your blog design!
    We are all on a journey I guess, but mine has been different to the others here. I decided to believe in Jesus more than 50 years ago, and while I have questioned almost everything about that belief, as others here have done and you are doing, and changed heaps of it, the fundamentals have remained, stronger than ever.
    But I have found many christians focus on minor matters and argue about details and opinions, and institutional christianity often perverts what I regard as the core of following Jesus. So it is easy, and sometimes right and proper, to question or disengage with that form of christianity.
    I look forward to seeing what you have to say here.
    Hi Nate thanks for your positive comments. I was blushing a little as I read them! You know I appreciate your open-mindedness and friendliness. Hi Howie, it looks like “old folks at home” here!
    Hi Jbars, I’ve discussed briefly with your husband, so it’s nice to “meet” you too.

    Like

    Reply
    1. ratamacue0 Post author

      Hi unkleE,

      Happy to have you.

      I love your blog design!

      Can’t take much credit there; I just picked a theme. 😉

      We are all on a journey I guess, but mine has been different to the others here.

      It’s fascinating that we can reach such divergent conclusions after earnest searching.

      Can you recommend any other “well-researched” Christians who might be able to contribute, or whose blogs I may want to read?

      Like

      Reply
    2. Jbars

      Hi, unkleE. Nice to meet you too. I know I’ve seen your name, but I don’t think I’ve been to your blog yet. I’ll pop over now.

      Like

      Reply
  5. unkleE

    Everybody’s glad!
    I have a few recommendations.
    Peter Enns is an Old Testament scholar who thinks rather than follows, and he was forced to leave his position in a conservative theological college because he rocked the doctrinal boat – so he can’t be all bad! Catch his blog at Patheos.
    Dennis Lamoureux is well worth reading and listening to on evolution vs creation.
    Phil Hemsley is a thoughtful christian, an engineer and an adult convert (as was Lamoureux).
    Hope that helps.

    Like

    Reply
    1. Jbars

      Peter Enns’ book The Evolution of Adam was very helpful for me. Even though I didn’t “land” in the same spot as he does, his book helped move me from a more fundamental, evangelical Christian perspective. I’m really thankful for this now. I will check out his blog too.

      Like

      Reply
  6. Minimalist Christian

    Hello ratamacue0,
    I noticed that you popped by my blog and so came and read this (thanks UnkleE for the reference).
    You are asking many of the questions that I spent several years researching. There must be a ‘big picture’ where everything hangs together, history, science, reason, God, but how do we find out. I have gathered a lot of ‘evidence’ in my book The Big Picture, and tried to keep any preconceptions out of the discussion therein. I’ve written it for people who want to ensure there is a firm basis for their faith (everyone has faith – event ardent atheists). I think it might help.
    I’ll follow your blog and see if there are specifics that I can help with later on.
    All the best
    Phil
    http://pdhemsley.com/index.html

    Like

    Reply
    1. boomslang

      “(everyone has faith – event ardent atheists)”
      If I may…
      Most often when I encounter this type of corollary I find that “trust” and “faith” are being conflated, and now is no exception. Everyone has trust in something, yes, but “trust” and “faith” are not mutually inclusive. The former is most always built upon a proven, demonstrable track-record, whereas, it is not always true of the latter.
      I opine that there is no corollary there when it comes to “faith” in the religious sense of the word. Peace.

      Like

      Reply
  7. unkleE

    Jbars said: “Peter Enns’ book The Evolution of Adam was very helpful for me. Even though I didn’t “land” in the same spot as he does, his book helped move me from a more fundamental, evangelical Christian perspective.”
    ratamacue0 said: “Dennis Lamoureux: I watched a few of these web lectures last night. Wow.”
    I think one of the main things I want to say in these situations is that there are many variations on christian belief. We all generally believe the same basic stuff, but beyond that there are many different beliefs and practices.
    It is important in deciding whether we accept or reject christian belief, that we make sure we aren’t basing our conclusion on one particular form.

    Like

    Reply
      1. sgl

        i’ll second the DagoodS blog, and highlight the sequence of posts (~10-12 posts i think) that summarize his background and what he learned that caused his deconversion.
        http://sandwichesforsale.blogspot.com/2007/09/my-deconversion-story-in-which-we-test.html
        also, any particular issue, search his blog, as he’s got a wealth of info. and sometimes he comes out of hiding and comments on other people’s blogs, if they’re the type that is interested in diving into the nitty-gritty details, and open to listening to new perspectives. great guy, and amazingly knowledgeable.

        Like

        Reply
        1. ratamacue0 Post author

          I started that sequence of posts, and got about halfway through. (It is long!) Thanks for the recommendation; I’ll have to be sure to finish it.

          Like

  8. Pingback: Begin the Questioning: On the Historicity of the Resurrection of Jesus | aspiretofindtruth

  9. Alice

    Nice to meet you!
    Giving up the whole us/them dichotomy was the best thing for me. I have pretty much given up on the debate myself, but am very interested in the historicity of Jesus issue.
    Kansas Bob is a blogging friend of mine, I would call him a progressive Christian.
    http://www.kansascitybob.com/
    I’ll be adding you to my reader:)

    Like

    Reply
  10. Susan

    Hi there
    I hope that you truly come to the Truth. It isn’t about what you think or choose, it IS about fully being surrendered to Jesus. Before I was saved I ruled on the throne of my life. When I surrendered He helped me understand the truth about Himself…and it changed in an instant and has had me growing in His wisdom and understanding for almost 30years. You can be forever “learning and never coming to an understanding of the Truth” or you can grow in Christ, which is a life of surrender. People that are too wrapped up in themselves won’t…they can pretend for a while…however their own feelings and self worship is more important…I hope you aren’t one of those but that is where you are seeking help so it isn’t looking good for you at this juncture. Don’t keep looking for treasure in the trash dumpsters. Surrender completely a horrible sinner at the foot of the Cross, confessing you can’t do it TO HIM. He paid your price. Live a life not of works nor licentiousnous but of Grace and holiness of Christ in Truth. That only comes through Jesus. Most still want some portion to still be about themselves…there is the fatal flaw that is sending Satan and all his followers to help. I hope you surrender and let Jesus His rightful place on the throne of your life through complete surrender not those misguided selfish feelings.

    Like

    Reply
  11. Susan

    In thinking on this situation further, I understand that it is our natural way of (fallen) thinking and way of our natural desire to wish to find God to be false and therefore go to the atheists and “former” Christians for the answers…I say “former” with “” because people that say such things could not have truly ever been born of the Holy Spirit of God… God help you, I truly hope, but however God’s will be done.

    Like

    Reply
    1. Howie

      Hi Susan,
      This kind of statement about “former Christian” with quotes is a very common thing on the internet and I realize it is a doctrinal statement so I can live with that, but I have some thoughts I’d like to share with you that I shared on another blog recently:
      I actually don’t see any reason to be so stubborn about claiming that I know for sure I was a TRUE Christian – I don’t believe anymore that there even is such a thing, so in that regard whatever others believe doesn’t really matter. Back in the day I certainly very much thought I was an evangelical Christian. But the fact is, what if my understanding of Christianity had some important missing factor that would have been the deciding factor of making me a TRUE Christian (if there is such a thing)? I’d never know because I took advice from many Christians on what those factors needed to be and I was very sure those factors were there. I converted when I was 19 from Judaism and my first year as a Christian I was very sure that Jesus had died for my sins, that the bible was inerrant, that I had confessed and repented of my sins, that my sins had been washed away, and that I was following Jesus. Intellectually I believed that the doctrines of evangelical Christianity were true and in “my heart” I had committed to following along with whatever I thought the beliefs required of me. While I thought my father would disown me I informed my parents of my new beliefs and when my parents said they thought it was a phase in my life I assured them that it was definitely not just a phase in my life – I was very sure I would believe forever. I was very excited in that first year and prayed, read the bible, attended several weekly campus meetings, and tried to spread the word as much as I could. But after that first year doubts began to grow until after 5 years they were so overwhelming I realized the doubts weighed more than the belief and it wasn’t honest to claim I was a Christian anymore.
      But again, while all of the above is the honest truth, it is also true that there could have been something missing that I’m not aware of that made it that I was actually not a Christian, so I’m fine with that. It may also be as some of my friends say that I am actually still a Christian right now even though I really do not think that the beliefs are true. Who knows, maybe it doesn’t matter what we actually truly think we believe. Perhaps there is some kind of subconscious thing that is actually opposite of what we honestly and sincerely believe (or at least what we think we believe).
      All that is fine. But you should really think hard about this because this calls into question everyone’s salvation, including your own. While you may be extremely sure of your belief right now, you don’t know what tomorrow may bring. You also cannot know whether or not there is some factor missing from your faith that you are not aware of. You are not perfect, so you could be wrong just as you think I was. With this kind of methodology there is no way I can see how anyone can know that they are truly saved.
      Again, I don’t believe there is such a thing as the afterlife, and since the afterlife is such a debated belief among so many different religions I cannot see how it can be healthy at all to worry about such things. And if a truly all-loving God exists that cares about His creation then an eternal place of sadness cannot logically exist.

      Like

      Reply
      1. Susan Zyp

        Hi Howie,
        Thank you for a thoughtful response, I truly didn’t think you would read past one or two lines of what I wrote.
        There are many difficult things to understand in the Bible, and many things require faith, and that faith is from God, however as you know the Bible teaches the devil is right there to steal those things that the Lord gives us to understand. Yes it requires a simple faith, and many who come to find they are “too intelligent” will come to reject a simple faith….so what is their faith in if it is not in what God tells us? It remains with self, self-worship of self’s wisdom and importance. Self remains on the throne of self’s small kingdom of one plus the subjects that you will gather who will “lovingly” support your ideas about there not being a need nor any truth to there being a God.
        I want to highlight this portion of what you say:
        “But you should really think hard about this because this calls into question everyone’s salvation, including your own. While you may be extremely sure of your belief right now, you don’t know what tomorrow may bring. You also cannot know whether or not there is some factor missing from your faith that you are not aware of.”
        You may not think you are “preaching”, however you are, and it truly is the one the devil has planted into your heart and mind and which you are now saying to others “You can lose your salvation just as I did”….those who are saved cannot become unsaved (it is permanent because it is the work of God) and those who are not saved never were and were missing the Holy Spirit (always represented as oil in the Bible–think 10 virgins, 5 didn’t have oil in their lamps because they were unprepared, so there is an element of personal responsibility involved in this).
        I was saved by God in 1988 and my world turned upside down. Many things happened at that time, and I had to rest in God and trust Him fully. He brought me through a horrible time that lasted years all the while I had to rest and trust, and there was internal upheavals like you would not conceive of that I had to continually believe through that God would see me through, and He did….and through that time, He lovingly supplied me with oil in my lamp, not only for that time, but oil that never runs out.
        The Bible is the word of God whether you accept it or reject it or think it doesn’t make any sense to you…. it is something that requires a lifetime of study and devotion to understanding, and yet requires simple faith, through thick and thin. I hope truly that you will seek that oil for your lamp while you still have time (you aren’t dead yet) and that you will fight the enemies of doubt and self-importance of self-wisdom, and bow all of it continually through that horrible rough patch I had to go through in order to obtain that oil.
        There are many things that are symbolic in scripture, things like heaven and hell and oil and sheep and goats etc etc are representations of things in the spiritual realm that we only see glimpses of in our current lives. It is easy to dismiss them as fantasies or “not real” however, all the things the Bible talks about with these representations are talking about things to come, and at this point we can only be told about it in ways that use things we have at our disposal right now. We do not know what hell is, but there are things here in this life that can describe some of the aspects of hell. Eternal burning, eternal suffering, eternal gnashing of teeth in anger and regret….this is part of what hell will be…and everything that the Bible says about it is true, so the truth about hell is that it will be that exactly, BUT it will be so much more, because when one finds him or herself there after this life, it will be all that there is and there will be no escaping it then. The symbols that describe it will only cover portions of what it tried to describe. The reality will outdo it’s attempts at describing it.
        I leave you with these words from God’s holy scriptures and I pray that you will meditate on these day and night, through all the doubts the enemy will throw at you (verse 23 is what I am trying to give to you today):
        Jud 1:20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
        Jud 1:21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
        Jud 1:22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
        Jud 1:23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
        Jud 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
        Jud 1:25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

        Like

        Reply
        1. Howie

          I have 2 children Susan and I love them very much. They could reject me all they want, even spit in my face if they like – no matter what they do I would never dream of having them sad for eternity. What kind of love is the kind that allows people to be sad for eternity? If you believe there is an all powerful, all knowing God that allows for this then that really is sad. It defies any normal definition of love. How can that kind of God be said to love his creation?

          Like

        2. ratamacue0 Post author

          Susan,

          Thank you for reading my post, and for sharing your thoughts.

          The Bible is the word of God

          This is essentially the hypothesis I set out to test.

          whether you accept it or reject it or think it doesn’t make any sense to you…. it is something that requires a lifetime of study and devotion to understanding, and yet requires simple faith, through thick and thin.

          What do you mean by “faith”, and why is it a good thing?

          Like

        3. Susan

          Everyone has faith…just depends on what you wish to put it in…I believe God above all and more than myself,you put all faith and trust in your own ability and the abilities of other less than perfect beings over and above God, the God who created you. Bad decision that will fail you in the end.

          Like

        4. ratamacue0 Post author

          Susan, you didn’t answer my question. What do you mean by “faith”? Your answer should not include the word itself.

          I will add another question: how do you “know” the things you think about God are true? Why should I believe your claims, above those of Muslims, for instance?

          Like

        5. boomslang

          “Susan, you didn’t answer my question.”
          @ ratamacue0,
          Don’t feel too badly—when pressed to make sense of, and/or, to show consistency in her Xian beliefs, Susan is notorious for bailing out. Susan (and many other fundamentalist internet Christians) will readily admit that their foundation is built upon “faith”, or as she puts it, “simple faith”. But of course, you probably know as well as I do that it’s not quite that “simple”, because if you’re going to accept one set of outrageous claims on “faith”, then this opens the floodgates for believing any other outrageous claims, as well. IOW, the theist, in this case, Susan, must compartmentalize her beliefs, which is precisely what she has done. E.g., she’ll happily and proudly admonish you to not use your own, fallible, “worldly wisdom” for discerning the veracity of the bible, and in fact, she’ll even disparage you for doing so. But curiously, what Susan uses to dismiss the outrageous claims of the other guy’s religion is…..you guess it…..her very own, fallible, “worldly wisdom”! Susan leans on her own understanding as to not be duped by Islam, or Buddhism, or Scientology, or the crooked used-car salesman, but when it comes to her Christian beliefs, all of the sudden her own wisdom isn’t good enough and “simple faith” is secondary to being duped. ‘Funny how that works.
          Nice blog, BTW.

          Like

        6. Susan

          Actually I believe you already know the answer and pretend to go through the motions of “sincerely” wanting to know…I could be wrong but I have to be honest that I believe you want to place yourself (yourselves) as “God” to yourself and any answer I therefore give will be inadequate in your opinion…that’s why people like myself tend to give up arguing with people like you…truth, it’s out there but you need to be more honest with yourself about it.

          Like

        7. ratamacue0 Post author

          Actually I believe you already know the answer and pretend to go through the motions of “sincerely” wanting to know…

          If you think you might have something to offer that hasn’t been said here, consider humoring me.

          I could be wrong

          You are.

          but I have to be honest that I believe you want to place yourself (yourselves) as “God” to yourself and any answer I therefore give will be inadequate in your opinion…

          I appreciate your honesty, and I can understand why you think that. I don’t so much appreciate your judgement, though.

          Honestly, I don’t want to be my own “god”. I don’t like the idea that there’s no sky daddy safety net. I don’t like that I now have no good reason to believe that my consciousness will continue after death. I don’t like the idea that there is not any “greater purpose” to my life–not that’s revealed to me, anyway. I don’t want to be captain of my own ship. But it seems I am. I’d rather have the truth, whatever it is.

          If I had good reason to believe that there is a personal, benevolent Creator, and that we’ve been given a revelation about these things from him/her, I’d want to know it. However, at this point, in order for me to believe that Yahweh/Jesus is/are (members of) that triune God, and that the Bible is his message to us, would require overcoming the reasons I’ve accumulated to doubt those specific claims. (I do plan to elaborate on these in later posts.)

          that’s why people like myself tend to give up arguing with people like you…

          The “people like you” moniker doesn’t feel very nice.

          truth, it’s out there but you need to be more honest with yourself about it.

          I believe the Truth about these matters exists. Currently, I don’t have a reason to believe that we (humans) can know it, or that we’ll ever necessarily figure it out. We might. We might not.

          I’m open to arguments and evidence pointing one way or the other.

          Like

        8. Susan

          My “moniker” as you put it wasn’t so different from Boomslang’s comments about me . I’m happy that you are in agreement on how unpleasant it sounds

          Like

        9. ratamacue0 Post author

          You might have a point here, but I’m not convinced it’s an apples-to-apples comparison. I’m not sure that’s the most productive line of discussion, though, so I’m going to set it aside for now.

          Susan, did you ever consider the possibility that the Bible might not be God’s message to us? If so, what came of it, and what convinced you that it is?

          Proverbs 3:5-6 comes to mind (ESV):

          5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
          and do not lean on your own understanding.
          6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
          and he will make straight your paths.

          I counter that at some point, you need to use your own understanding in order to determine if what you’re trusting in is indeed “the Lord”, as opposed to some evil spirit (if either of those do indeed exist), or some “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, or the whims of your own mind. If you don’t, then you risk mistaking someone or something else for “the Lord”.

          How then does one make that determination? My faith was based on the assumption that the Bible is God’s revelation to us. I set out to test that assumption–without presupposing that any particular god exists, or that he/she/it is personal or has a mind, or that we humans deserve or will necessarily ever figure this out. That is, my presupposed answers to all those questions was “maybe”. If God exists and he wants us to have a relationship with him, then I contend that his message to us should be able to be authenticated–that is, upon inspection, it should be apparent that it’s from him. (At least by the preponderance of evidence–not with “certainty”, per se.)

          You can tell from my comments what I think thus far.

          Like

        10. boomslang

          “My ‘moniker’ as you put it wasn’t so different from Boomslang’s comments about me.” ~ Susan
          My comments “about” you aren’t something I pulled out of thin air; they are based on observable reality, e.g…blog post, upon blog post, upon blog post of you repeating the same circular arguments and bare assertion fallacies.
          “I’m happy that you are in agreement on how unpleasant it sounds” ~ Susan
          If you trust me on nothing else, trust me that nothing is more unpleasant than someone who uses their “simple faith” as a (pseudo)license to police threads where deconverted or answer-seeking believers converse so that they can cast judgment upon them, demonizing them as “lost”, not-to-mention, liars. This unpleasantness also becomes amusing at a certain point, since you are the one who continually says things like, “It’s between you and the LORD”, yet, you evidently won’t let it be between us and this (supposed) “LORD”, but instead, cannot resist the armchair ministering and thinly-veiled threats.
          But anyway, just like ratamacue said in regards to your latest….
          “These are more claims without evidence”
          Precisely.

          Like

        11. Susan Zyp

          Ultimately time will reveal the real truth about each one of us, and if you are being honest in your search, Jesus does promise it will lead to Him, and if it doesn’t it is you who are being dishonest, not Him, He is truth incarnate. Time will level us all and reveal all, so I’m not concerned about getting the right answers to you because if it is in God’s plan for you then you will receive it whether it is from me or someone or somewhere else. It isn’t up to me to convince you or save you, that is between you and Jesus, and if He fails you the failure remains on your end, not His.

          Like

        12. Susan Zyp

          “Tersely: These are more claims without evidence.” — the truth is just that: time will reveal all” and as you yourself admit by your statements (again) having to wait for the truth isn’t really on your agenda because it would be answered differently by you if indeed it were… “claims without evidence” is YOUR claim without evidence, and time will bear that out as well.

          On Tue, Jul 1, 2014 at 2:26 PM, aspiretofindtruth wrote:

          > ratamacue0 commented: “Tersely: These are more claims without > evidence. (Hitchens’ razor, etc.)” >

          Like

        13. ratamacue0 Post author

          the truth is just that: time will reveal all”

          As I understand it, you mean we’ll find out after we die that you’re right. This is your claim, for which you offer no supporting evidence.

          If death is the end of consciousness, then you never really find out. Or there could be an afterlife completely different from what you think–in which case, you’ll find out you’re wrong.

          I don’t claim that either of those scenarios is true, but I consider the “death is the end of consciousness” as the null hypothesis, and I think it’s wise to be prepared for it.

          I do claim that I have some reasons to think that biblegod is false. I plan to write about those later. Where is your evidence for your claims?

          and as you yourself admit by your statements (again) having to wait for the truth isn’t really on your agenda

          I’m just trying to be a “good steward” of my limited time here on this pale blue dot. Should I also continuously examine e.g the Quran indefinitely, even after having determined some reasons to think it is not divine revelation, simply because Muslims threaten me with hellfire?

          because it would be answered differently by you if indeed it were…

          Another claim without evidence.

          “claims without evidence” is YOUR claim without evidence, and time will bear that out as well.

          Not so. You are making a positive claim, so the burden of proof is on you to support it of you want others to believe your claim. That’s how the burden if proof works.

          If you are saying that Hitchens’ Razor is not a useful tool in the search for truth, then please (1) propose an alternative, and (2) explain how your alternative demonstrates Christianity to be true, and other religions false.

          If you are saying “the evidence is out there somewhere”, and you refuse to research for yourself and provide any of it here, then please stop wasting my time.

          Like

        14. Susan Zyp

          “in order for me to believe that Yahweh/Jesus is/are (members of) that triune God, and that the Bible is his message to us, would require overcoming the reasons I’ve accumulated to doubt those specific claims. (I do plan to elaborate on these in later posts.)”

          I understand that you don’t want to believe (faith = believing the truth= Jesus is God), I see it in everything that you say even though you then deny that fact by saying that you really do want to be open to it which I have not seen ANY evidence for…sadly, therefore you are right about one thing: I guess I am wasting my time here as well as yours. I tried, but it isn’t up to me to convince you or anyone else of anything…that is between you and Jesus. If He wanted me to get through to you it would happen, so I guess I’m done here.

          Like

        15. Susan Zyp

          My final comment here is to say that I go into greater detail about faith, lack of faith, being faithless and saying the kinds of things you and others say here, on my blog. If you sincerely have lost your way, the Lord is faithful even when we are not faithful. I know that He can do things that are impossible for me, I cannot cause anyone to become faithful and the devil truly is smarter than we are in causing our hearts to reject the promises God gives, so to try to answer every argument you are giving the devil the time of day with is truly as you say “a waste of time” because you will always find more reasons to reject what God has put forth in His word to us. If you want to read what I say about faith and the lack of it, you can see it here:

          http://susanflutterbys.blogspot.ca/

          If you decide not to because you have more important things to do, like continue to find more reasons to reject God and only listen to those who will support you in that cause, that of course is up to you.

          Like

        16. Howie

          Hi Susan,

          I hope it’s ok if I respond a little here too. I want to say thank you for at least making an effort to come over here and sharing what you believe is a very important part of life. For those of us who are skeptical it is always hard to remember how that used to be (because we went through much pain with family and/or close friends after going public with our skepticism), but I remember it clearly and that’s why I thank you for your efforts.

          What puzzles a lot of us who became skeptical is that there are people of many different religions as well as sects within Christianity who say the same things that you do to both us as well as you. That’s right, there are others who believe very strongly that you have rejected what they know very clearly is the correct way to follow the “Truth” or the “One True God”. That’s why when we left “the fold” we tried our best to objectively figure out how to build up the correct world-view rather than just picking any one of the many that simply by their own beliefs declare us to be unfaithful.

          So with the realization that we can’t see eye to eye and knowing what your response is to my last paragraph, I’d like to bid you farewell and wish you the best in your own journey through the mystery of life.

          Like

        17. ratamacue0 Post author

          Susan,

          As I said in this post, the theory underlying my research and blogging is that the truth (even “capital ‘T’ Truth”) should be able to withstand scrutiny. To that end, believe it or not, I do actually want to have input from both Christians and non- here. (Perhaps you saw my post To Christians: A Warning and a Plea?) I’m actually glad that you took some time to share your thoughts.

          For better or worse, I did get frustrated at your lack of engagement with several questions and arguments I posed. It seems to me that you take for granted the proposition that the Bible is God’s revelation to us, and all your assertions are (ostensibly) based on that premise. However, that’s the very proposition I set out to test…

          Unfortunately, to my view, such lack of engagement (from you and other Christians) serves as a lack of evidence for the Christian God hypothesis, and thus reason to disbelieve it.

          Thanks for the link to your blog. I did read several posts, which seemed potentially relevant to the questions I’m asking. It seemed to me that they were all coming from the same angle as what you’ve posted here, i.e. [truth claim] “because the Bible says so”, etc., so I didn’t find it persuasive, either. I considered making conversation there, but decided against it, at least for the time being. Let me know if you’d actually be interested in that. (No guarantees that I will or won’t, though, in either case.)

          I also find that at this point that I’m mostly unconvinced by apologists’ and preachers’ arguments–not just your website.

          If you decide not to because you have more important things to do, like continue to find more reasons to reject God and only listen to those who will support you in that cause, that of course is up to you.

          As stated above, I did spend some time reading your stuff…

          I’m not done researching and testing my ideas/conclusions about Christianity yet, but–assuming I don’t wind up convinced that it is true after the next round or two of examination and “peer review”–I do have better things to do than to continue researching propositions that appear to be false, expecting them to be shown otherwise. I think if you can imagine for a moment that the subject was not Christianity, you’d probably agree with my logic in that case.

          I aim to listen to people who make coherent arguments, make logical sense, and can support their assertions with evidence. If such people hold ideas contrary to mine, then I should change my mind–as I’ve done recently.

          I hope this comment has been explanatory, not confrontational. Such was my intent.

          Like

        18. Susan

          Hi ratamacue, I post comments here from my tablet (challenging, somewhat) but I agree with you that it boils down to “God says so” the end… either you believe or you don’t and don’t blame others for that, it is yours alone, between you and God…and guess what…He’s much greater than you are so I honestly see your position as foolish to the extreme

          Like

        19. ratamacue0 Post author

          Hi Susan,

          (I fixed what I assume was a typo in your comment.)

          I think this is a step toward understanding each other.

          I agree with you that it boils down to “God says so” the end…

          That doesn’t quite cover it, though. More like “God says so in the Bible…” and all that that entails. (If I elaborate, I think I may repeat things I’ve already said.)

          either you believe or you don’t and don’t blame others for that, it is yours alone, between you and God…and guess what…He’s much greater than you are so I honestly see your position as foolish to the extreme

          Been there, done that, understand what you’re saying, and I disagree. Now, someone, or some evidence or reason could possibly convince me otherwise…

          It seems to me that your view of unbelievers is from the POV of a Bible-based strawman (e.g. Rom 1:18ff). I don’t suppose you’ll ever actually understand what goes on in my (our?) mind(s) without allowing yourself to consider the possibility that you might be wrong–to evaluate the evidence critically, and to consider that Yahweh may not not exist, and that the Bible may not be his perfectly harmonious and morally good revelation to humankind. That would include exploring the possibilities without the anthropocentric (pre)suppositions that (1) a deity necessarily exists, (2) it necessarily has a mind something like ours, and (3) it wants to reveal itself to us.

          Like

  12. boomslang

    “either you believe or you don’t and don’t blame others for that” ~ Susan Zyp
    I’m sorry, but which Atheists/Agnostics are blaming “others” for their inability to honestly believe? If I “blame” anyone at all, it would be the bible’s redactors, albeit long dead, since they are the ones who botched things up royally when it comes to “science”. Let’s see, the earth is flat, is it? The sky is made up of water and a giant dome prevents that water from crashing down on us? The sun revolves around the earth, does it? Smearing bird’s blood onto someone with leprosy will heal them, will it?
    The astute among us know the answer is “no” on all counts.
    “it is yours alone, between you and God…and guess what…He’s much greater than you are so I honestly see your position as foolish to the extreme” ~ Susan Zyp
    Once again we’re told how it’s “between [us] and God”, but two seconds later we’re being called fools and lectured about how much “greater” this supposed “God” is than we are. IOW, no evidence; only assertions. Until that changes, how about this: If there’s a “God”, how about letting him/her/it tell me how much greater he/she/it is than I am, and if I’m a “fool” for using my my brain, let him/her/it tell me. ‘Sound fair?

    Like

    Reply
  13. Professor Taboo

    Ratamacue0,

    As we’ve both recently discovered, we have similar backgrounds and life-events. I am SO looking forward to reading these 3(?) post series! And if I feel so moved to offer my humble thoughts and feedback, for the sake of ‘truth-journeying’ out of institutionalized religion, then I will certainly “raise my hand” to speak Sir!

    Warm wishes!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. ratamacue0 Post author

      [Originally posted this comment as a reply to the post. Reposting as a reply to Professor Taboo’s comment, as originally intended.]

      Hey Professor,

      (Can I call you…say…”Prof T”?)

      Happy to hear more of your story. I see you’ve shared some in other comments here on my blog already. Thoughts and feedback welcome, too.

      I appreciate your enthusiasm for my series. You even started at the very beginning (this first post), which is before the actual beginning of my journey series… Speaking of which, so far, there are three posts in the series. I’ve got a couple more drafted already, and plans for…IDK how many more.

      Cheers.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  14. Ain't No Shrinking Violet

    What a lovely debate ratamacue! I do so love when believers start bringing up the goats…it’s one of my favorite lines that brings me endless humor. People gotta rag on the poor, devil-deserving goats. I’ve had many of these conversations with believers (though not nearly as well put together as yours). They can never understand why I won’t take the bible as evidence.

    I think you know who Mac is? He linked to this post today and I found his comments to this believer to be hysterically funny: https://noneseek.wordpress.com/2015/03/24/proof-that-there-is-no-proof/#comments

    Like

    Reply
      1. Peter

        It provides a cogent example of why it is so hard to discuss these matters in a sober intelligent manner. I have come across so many arguments that when you drill down just a little end up being in essence, ‘The Bible is true because the Bible says it is true’.

        In fact Jesus said that we can test to see if his words were true by putting them into practice. What is the best test: Answered prayer? By this criteria alone there are grounds to doubt.

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
  15. Pingback: WINC: Alleged Resurrection – The Gospels | aspiretofindtruth

  16. mike and brandy

    Great articles here. The parallels to my journey are abundant. I appreciate that someone else has been where I now find myself.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  17. SkepticMeditations

    I too was raised Catholic. Then as a teen was agnostic, but still believed in a higher power of some kind. Then in college discover yoga meditation and thought my life’s purpose was fulfilled. I joined a Hindu-inspired meditation group, Self-Realization Fellowship. I write about my entry and exit into meditation religion on my blog.

    That we humans doubt and question our cherished world-views seems vitally important to our survival and flourishing. I seem to keep going from one narrow worldview to a little larger one throughout my life. The folly is in thinking we have found freedom or salvation: concepts we take for granted and rarely question what they mean and as if there is some ideal state of perfection of them that we can attain.

    Thanks for your blog

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  18. praisethechrist

    Hello there, I saw you post a comment on Mc Clasper’s blog. (www.countercreationist.wordpress.com)
    So, exactly what DO you believe in?

    Like

    Reply
        1. ratamacue0 Post author

          Once upon a time, I was. I’m not now.

          Are you referring to this post, or the comment thread on Counter-Creationist’s blog? What did I say that made you think I might be a creationist?

          Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s