To Christians: A Warning and a Plea

My research has continued, albeit quietly thus far.

The Warning

The more I’ve read, the more I’ve been doubting the truth claims of the Bible and Christianity. There appears to be a solid chance that there may come a time when I am no longer a Christian.

I intend to discuss at least some of my searching, questions and reasoning on this blog. If I “deconvert”, it will be on account of some persuasive evidence (or lack), logic, reasoning, etc. This could conceivably instill doubt in you. If you’re not willing to ask some honest questions about why you believe the Bible’s claims to be true, then you may want to leave to protect your own faith.

Bear in mind: many deconverts have experienced high relational costs from going through that process. Some of them have blogged about it. In some cases, when a spouse has not agreed with the search or the conclusions, some marriages have broken up. (Need I say more than the phrase, “unequally yoked”?)

The Plea

I’m sure that writing out some of my thoughts here will have value for me, at least as an exercise. But the real reason I started this blog was for the comments. I set out to solicit a multitude of competing perspectives, hoping that I may find wisdom in the council of many.

So, Christians: I want you here. I hope you’ll stay, be open-minded and rational, and contribute honestly to the conversation.

(Naturally, I want the non-believers, and especially the former-believers, too. But it seems they are already well-represented, relatively speaking.)

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42 thoughts on “To Christians: A Warning and a Plea

  1. jesuswithoutbaggage

    I only recently began reading your blog.
    I want you to know that I grew up as a committed fundamentalist, but as I neared my twenties I began to question what I had been taught, and I continued to do that–issue by issue–for the next forty years.
    It was very frightening at times and at one point, due to rejecting inerrancy, I was in deep spiritual crisis and for more than a year I grieved the loss of God.
    However, I rediscovered Jesus as the foundation of my belief instead of an inerrant Bible. If questioning your beliefs cause you to no longer be Christian, I will not try to persuade you otherwise, but I will interact with your questions if it seems that I might be helpful in thinking through them.
    You are already on a journey; I hope you find a satisfactory and fulfilling resolution.

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    1. ratamacue0 Post author

      Thanks, Tim.

      I’m curious as to what led to your “rediscovering Jesus”, and how you separate…truth from fiction and non-binding directives, shall we say.

      I’m reading through some of your about pages now. If you’ve answered these things, feel free to share links here, and/or elaborate if you want.

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      1. jesuswithoutbaggage

        Sorry for the delay, Ratamacue. Your email, along with some others, got buried.

        I describe my rediscovery of Jesus as my foundation in my third and final post at http://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/about-tim-chastain/my-spiritual-crisis/.

        Regarding non-binding directives, I believe that Jesus replaced all directives with the simple standard of loving the Father, ourselves, and others. So essentially the only directive is to treat people with love, respect, and a desire for their good.

        I discuss this in my post at http://jesuswithoutbaggage.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/jesus-obliterates-legalism/.

        Sorry again for the delay. If you have further comments or questions, I will be more prompt!

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      2. Think Always

        I’ve known Tim from my other WordPress account, he would recognize me as Zach Van Houten. As I was leaving fundamentalism I did a lot of reading on his site, which was a big help in coming to grips with the change. But anyway, I highly recommend his site JesusWithoutBaggage. Really good perspective on faith in light of the intellectual challenges.

        I personally became a atheist, although I have momentary inclinations toward the attractiveness of liberal Christianity. But right now I am at an incredibly skeptical place right now. If you get a chance you would probably enjoy my blog as I discuss all the gory details of historical, textual, and philosophical criticism of Christianity.

        It does come at a high cost to deconvert. But it’s better than rationalizing fallacies. Of course, whether there are fallacies in Christianity depends on who you talk to. But I think every honest Christian can agree that there are mysteries or difficulties, many of which I personally see as irreconcilable discrepancies.

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  2. Jbars

    ratamacue0,
    This is random, but have you heard of the band Quiet Company? A friend of my husband’s recommended them to us. They used to be Christian band but are no longer. Their “coming out” album is titled “We are all Where We Belong”. It’s really good. I have found their music consoling and inspiring as I’ve gone through my own journey and deconversion. Plus, they’re from my town – Austin, TX. 🙂
    If you’re interested in checking them out, here’s the address to their songs on Amazon:
    http://www.amazon.com/We-Are-All-Where-Belong/dp/B005P4GJJM
    Here’s the address to their official website:
    http://www.quietcompanymusic.com/

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    1. ratamacue0 Post author

      Hey Jbars,

      No, I hadn’t heard of them. The whole band deconverted? Very interesting. Do they share their story somewhere, or is it all just in the lyrics?

      I wonder if they still sing old faith-based songs at concerts.

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    2. Howie

      This is really cool Jbars, and I’m really glad you shared this. I’ve been listening to some of their stuff since I saw you post this and I like it quite a bit – both the sound and the lyrics. It’s always cool to find a connection to our experiences through music. The only song that has impacted me regarding my own experience with religion has been Iris Dement’s “Let the Mystery Be”. The lyrics hit home for me and I am a bit of a folk music fan so that fits too.
      Another thing I’ve been interested in finding is fiction that relates to a transition from Christianity to skepticism. I read “The Universe Versus Alex Woods” which wasn’t really about a change in belief but it was a nice read with a bit of a skeptic tone to it.

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  3. unkleE

    Hi, I’m still here.
    And I’d like to make a suggestion. Before you assess “the truth claims of the Bible”, I’d suggest you (1) write out what you think they are (with references) and (2) what level of truth claim you think is necessary for whatever you need to get from the Bible.
    I think (1) they may not be what many people claim and (2) people ask for more than they actually need.
    Just a thought. Thanks.

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  4. sgl

    not a christian myself, but there are a few people i read that are liberal christians who can find value in christianity without believing in inerrancy. (alas, these types seem to be rather rare, so if what you’re looking for is community, i don’t think it gets you very far.) the ones i’ve discovered often have some sort of mystical view of the world (altho mystical is a problematic word).
    a couple things you might find interesting along these lines. first, m scott peck, author and psychiatrist, came up with a 4 stage model of faith, and atheists are actually more advanced than fundamentalists! (mystics are the most advanced stage is his view.)
    ———-
    Morgan Scott Peck (May 22, 1936 – September 25, 2005) was an American psychiatrist and best-selling author, best known for his first book, The Road Less Traveled, published in 1978.
    ———-
    http://factnet.org/stages-spiritual-growth-m-scott-peck-abridged-richard-schwartz
    Over the course of a decade of practicing psychotherapy a strange pattern began to emerge. If people who were religious came to me in pain and trouble, and if they became engaged in the therapeutic process, so as to go the whole route, they frequently left therapy as atheists, agnostics, or at least skeptics. On the other hand, if atheists, agnostics, or skeptics came to me in pain or difficulty and became fully engaged, they frequently left therapy as deeply religious people. Same therapy, same therapist, successful but utterly different outcomes from a religious point of view. Again it didn’t compute–until I realized that we are not all in the same place spiritually.
    With that realization came another: there is a pattern of progression through identifiable stages in human spiritual life. I myself have passed through them in my own spiritual journey.
    —–
    “The churches age old dilemma: how to bring people from Stage II [fundamentalism] to Stage IV [mystics], without allowing them to enter Stage III [skepticism/atheism].”
    ———-
    see also:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M._Scott_Peck#The_Four_Stages_of_Spiritual_Development
    ———-
    also, sam harris, so-called new atheist, is actually thinks that mystical experiences are important and worthwhile, he just considers them part of how the brain works, not evidence of god. eg, see the second half of this speech:
    ———-
    http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/the-problem-with-atheism
    One clue as to how daunting most people would find such a project is the fact that solitary confinement—which is essentially what we are talking about—is considered a punishment even inside a prison. Even when cooped up with homicidal maniacs and rapists, most people still prefer the company of others to spending any significant amount of time alone in a box.
    And yet, for thousands of years, contemplatives have claimed to find extraordinary depths of psychological well-being while spending vast stretches of time in total isolation. It seems to me that, as rational people, whether we call ourselves “atheists” or not, we have a choice to make in how we view this whole enterprise. Either the contemplative literature is a mere catalogue of religious delusion, deliberate fraud, and psychopathology, or people have been having interesting and even normative experiences under the name of “spirituality” and “mysticism” for millennia.
    Now let me just assert, on the basis of my own study and experience, that there is no question in my mind that people have improved their emotional lives, and their self-understanding, and their ethical intuitions, and have even had important insights about the nature of subjectivity itself through a variety of traditional practices like meditation.
    Leaving aside all the metaphysics and mythology and mumbo jumbo, what contemplatives and mystics over the millennia claim to have discovered is that there is an alternative to merely living at the mercy of the next neurotic thought that comes careening into consciousness. There is an alternative to being continuously spellbound by the conversation we are having with ourselves.
    Most us think that if a person is walking down the street talking to himself—that is, not able to censor himself in front of other people—he’s probably mentally ill. But if we talk to ourselves all day long silently—thinking, thinking, thinking, rehearsing prior conversations, thinking about what we said, what we didn’t say, what we should have said, jabbering on to ourselves about what we hope is going to happen, what just happened, what almost happened, what should have happened, what may yet happen—but we just know enough to just keep this conversation private, this is perfectly normal. This is perfectly compatible with sanity. Well, this is not what the experience of millions of contemplatives suggests.
    ———-
    and an interesting documentary about a priest who takes 5 ordinary people on an intense silent retreat:
    http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/big-silence/
    or on youtube:

    and an interesting evaluation of the documentary from a christian theologian who i would consider liberal:
    http://ravenwilderness.blogspot.com/2010/11/no-place-for-silence.html
    so, it is possible for people to leave fundamentalism behind, and have a more mythological view of the bible, and remain a christian. however, i think it’s relatively rare (i’d guess less than 5% of the people, and probably far smaller than that). but it does seem to be possible. i’d guess far more become some flavor of skeptic/agnostic/atheist, etc.
    anyway, just some stuff that i found interesting, altho not sure if you will.

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  5. Howie

    Hey Ratamacue,
    I know this post isn’t really directed at me given that I’m not a Christian but I wanted to share some of my thoughts.
    I liked what everyone had to say here and I especially liked what sgl wrote. I’m familiar with the stages of spiritual growth that sgl wrote about because I read most of “Finding Your Religion: When the Faith You Grew Up With Has Lost Its Meaning” by Scotty McLennan, which I found perusing aisles at the library. I found the idea interesting although not sure where I stand on the whole thing. If there’s some truth to it then I seem to be stuck in the skeptic phase for quite a while now, but will always be open to that changing.
    But never mind me, as you’ve seen before I like to encourage people to think for themselves and explore many different avenues. I’m much the freethinker in that way. Not only are there interesting approaches within liberal Christianity, there are also interesting approaches in other religions as well. And then there are “spiritual” ideas even “outside” of religion like spiritual naturalism and other ideas that don’t even fit in naturalism. I haven’t had time to explore the whole realm but it’s a longterm goal of mine. I’m not sure if I mentioned it to you before but I really like attending Unitarian Universalist churches because they usually have classes where they explore lots of different spiritual traditions. The ones I attended always had members of many different beliefs and religious backgrounds and I liked that a big part of their group was to be respectful of everyone’s own personal journey. They are also very welcoming of atheists, skeptics and agnostics. “Seeker friendly” is a good way to describe them.
    So while the more typical skeptic ends up falling into something similar to the “new” atheist route there really are many different choices. I always like to say there aren’t 2 sides, there are many sides and the more all the sides try to understand each other the better off we’ll all be.

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  6. sgl

    you may have heard of alan watts, who was popular in the 1960-70s for popularizing eastern religions like buddhism and taoism in the usa. he actually started out life as an episcopal priest. i think he had a liberal and mythological view of the bible. he wrote a book (avail free on the web) talking about christianity in this liberal mythical way. i think you get the gist of what he means from the preface, prologue, and chapter 1, without having to read the whole book. however, if you’re looking for a way to remain a “christian” and still deal with the serious historical difficulties with a literal interpretation of the bible, he’s an example of how to do that. (can’t vouch for how many fellow christians will agree with this approach — i know they exist but don’t know where they congregate, since i don’t participate in any organized religion). a few excerpts which hopefully give a flavor, altho he’s quite far from the fundamentalist mindset, so not sure how these excerpts come across to those from a fundamentalist background.
    =====
    “Myth and Ritual in Christianity” by Alan Watts
    https://archive.org/details/mythandritualinc013384mbp
    —–
    That which has been held “always, everywhere, and by all” is the one common realization, doctrine, and myth which has appeared with consistent unanimity in every great culture, without benefit of “historical contacts” between the various traditions. It was even obvious to St. Augustine, though he later retracted the statement, that “the very thing now called the Christian religion was not wanting among the ancients from the beginning of the human race, until Christ came in the flesh, after which the true religion, which already existed, began to be called ‘Christian’.”
    – Alan Watts in “Myth and Ritual in Christianity”, page 136
    —–
    Myth is to be defined as a complex of stories some no doubt fact, and some fantasy which, for various reasons, human beings regard as demonstrations of the inner meaning of the universe and of human life. Myth is quite different from philosophy in the sense of abstract concepts, for the form of myth is always concrete consisting of vivid, sensually intelligible, narratives, images, rites, ceremonies, and symbols.
    —–
    The third, and perhaps most important, defect, is that the official doctrines betray a strange anxiety to prove the literal factuality of the myth as a basis for belief. But this believing in the myth, this anxious clinging to it as fact and certainty, utterly destroys its value and power. A God conceptually defined, a Christ believed in as a factual rock, is at once changed from a creative image to a dead idol. The anxiety to believe is the very opposite of faith, of self-surrender to the truth whatever it is or may turn out to be.
    —–
    In the pages that follow, our main object will be to describe one of the most incomparably beautiful myths that has ever flowered from the mind of man, or from the unconscious processes which shape it and which are in some sense more than man. We shall not be concerned with how much of the myth is woven out of historical facts, and how much out of fiction seeing that we have defined myth as any narrative, factual or fanciful, which is taken to signify the inner meaning of life. This is, furthermore, to be a description and not a history of Christian Mythology, which would require a work to itself since our aim is to show what this flower is, and not how it might have been put together. After description, we shall attempt an interpretation of the myth along the general lines of the philosophia perennis, in order to bring out the truly catholic or universal character of the symbols, and to share the delight of discovering a fountain of wisdom in a realm where so many have long ceased to expect anything but a desert of platitudes.
    —–
    Interpreted in this fashion, the Fall would stand for man’s forgetting of his divine nature, for involvement in the illusion of individuality. Salvation would be the recollection (anamnesis) of his divinity, the awakening or birth of Godhead in man.
    But, as one can only expect, theology will admit nothing of this kind, since it is the product of a mentality still very much under the spell of illusion. Yet, as a result, whole areas of Christian dogma do not make sense, or, at least, sense only of a very tortuous kind. If it is maintained, for example, that the Fall of Adam involves the whole human race, this is only because Adam Man is inclusive of each particular man. Contrariwise, there can only be Redemption for the human race if Christ, the Second Adam, is likewise inclusive of each particular man if the Incarnation of God in the man Jesus is representative of God in every man, as Adam represents Lucifer in every man. Yet, with rare exceptions, the theologians insist that the Godhead is incarnate in one man only the historical Jesus. This confinement of the Incarnation to a unique event in the historical past thus renders the myth “dead” and ineffective for the present. For when myth is confused with history, it ceases to apply to man’s inner life. Myth is only “revelation” so long as it is a message from heaven that is, from the timeless and non-historical world expressing not what was true once, but what is true always. Thus the Incarnation is without effect or significance for human beings living today if it is mere history; it is a “salvific truth” only if it is perennial, a revelation of a timeless event going on within man always.
    —–
    But the importance of the truth that the Christ is Man and not a man is that the Incarnation of God is not something which comes to pass in a single, particular individual alone. Theological, as distinct from mythological, Christianity has always wanted to insist that such an Incarnation occurred only with respect to the historical individual called Jesus of Nazareth. It has confused the true uniqueness of the Incarnation with mere historical abnormality. For the Incarnation is unique in the sense that it is the only real event, the only occurrence which is Now, which is not past and abstract.
    —–
    Yet here is another example of the marvelous way in which myth continues to be revealing even when distorted. The very insistence on the one historical incarnation as a unique step in a course of temporal events leading to the future Kingdom of God reveals the psychology of Western culture most clearly. It shows a mentality for which the present, real world is, in itself, joyless and barren, without value. The present can have value only in terms of meaning i like a word, it points to something beyond itself. This “beyond” which past and present events “mean” is the future. Thus the Western intellectual, as well as the literate common man, finds his life meaningless except in terms of a promising future. But the future is a “tomorrow which never comes”, and for this reason Western culture has a “frantic” character. It is a desperate rush in pursuit of an ever receding “meaning”, because the promising future is precisely the famous carrot which the clever rider dangles before his donkey’s nose from the end of his whip. Tragically enough, this frantic search for God, for the ideal life, in the future renders the course of history anything but a series of unique steps towards a goal Its real result is to make history repeat itself faster and more furiously, confusing “progress” with increased agitation.
    —–
    Yet the full sense of the myth comes to light only as it is seen in the spirit of a true catholicity quod semper, quod utyue, quod ab omnibus, of the truth held always, everywhere, and by all which is neither the official ideology of a “party religion” nor the lowest-common-denominator faith of a statistical democracy. That which has been held “always, everywhere, and by all” is the one common realization, doctrine, and myth which has appeared with consistent unanimity in every great culture, without benefit of “historical contacts” between the various traditions. It was even obvious to St. Augustine, though he later retracted the statement, that “the very thing now called the Christian religion was not wanting among the ancients from the beginning of the human race, until Christ came in the flesh, after which the true religion, which already existed, began to be called ‘Christian’.” In the light of such a catholicity the Virgin/born One, who is both God and Man, is that uncaused Reality which is both the timeless and the present, which is simultaneously the true life of man and of all. Every avatar, every incarnation of the “only/begotten Son” speaks in the name of this “one/and/only” Self who is YHVH, I am.
    —–

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    1. ratamacue0 Post author

      Thanks for your contribution.

      With all due respect, I have to say that this reads like nonsense to me.

      I’m not looking for a way to remain a Christian; I’m seeking the truth, whatever the result.

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      1. sgl

        re: nonsense
        the “—” separators indicate separate excerpts. so there might be some chance that reading the original text makes more sense to you. however, no problem if you’re not interested.
        however, the real point is that clergy often have a very different understanding than lay persons. in the 1980s in britain, there was a scandel because of a bishop that said that the resurrection was not “a conjuring trick with bones”, ie, that he didn’t believe in a literal bodily resurrection, but he was still promoted to bishop, because that’s not that unusual of a position among clergy, since they have been exposed already to all the information that you’ve recently been discovering about all the problems with the bible.
        also, see
        —–
        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1403106/One-third-of-clergy-do-not-believe-in-the-Resurrection.html
        A third of Church of England clergy doubt or disbelieve in the physical Resurrection and only half are convinced of the truth of the Virgin birth, according to a new survey.
        —–
        http://www.religioustolerance.org/resurrec8.htm
        Beliefs of mainline Christian clergy:
        Barna Research: Year 2000 poll of Christian leaders:
        Jesus was crucified but not physically resurrected
        Church leaders 33%
        —–
        so, what do all the clergy that do not believe in a literal resurrection? or don’t believe in a virgin birth?
        i don’t know for sure, and there’s probably a variation, but i suspect they either believe that humans added to the story (ie, they turned it into a myth) but that there are other parts that are still literally true, and various pastors have different opinions. Or else they believe it’s true in a mythical sense but not literal historical sense. (ie, like the story of the boy who cried wolf, or the story of the emporor’s new cloths could be said to be “true” in a sense, without having literally happened.) (or perhaps they’re just stuck after having specialized training that doesn’t help them with any other job.)
        i suspect this is part of why the turnover of pastors is relatively high, because of the cognitive dissonance.
        if all you’re looking for is literal historical truth, i suspect you’ll have to discard a large part of the bible, and a large part of the official dogma. (similar to the jefferson bible; thomas jefferson took words attributed to jesus, and left out all the miracles, and probably much of paul’s writing too, altho i don’t know exactly what he kept.)
        anyway, sounds like this is too far afield from what you’re looking for, so i’ll give it a rest, but i’ll keep reading along. best wishes….

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  7. Howie

    Hi Ratamacue,
    You may have seen these sites already, but in case you haven’t I thought you might be interested in these:
    1) http://anaivethinker.wordpress.com/
    – Brandon runs this site and he’s a very well read Christian who would be more than willing to share his thoughts on your blog. He’s usually very personable.
    2) Victoria is an atheist who runs a very interesting blog related to the psychology of belief. Her recent post reminded me of sgl’s very first comment on this post. She explains how there are recent findings in science that “spiritual” experiences could very well be naturally evolved effects of our brains. You can find that post here:
    http://victorianeuronotes.wordpress.com/2014/04/18/neuroscience-explanations-for-spiritual-experiences-part-1/

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  8. Charity

    Here via Matt’s blog. I agree with Howie, Victoria has two amazing blogs that not only cover religion, but human behavior as well. I consider her a very dear friend. I see that Janelle and Zoe have been by and they’re fantastic people, as well as Alice.
    Hey, whatever you decide, it doesn’t have to be permanent. Don’t ever feel stuck with any decision that you make. Don’t ever rush into anything either. Simply do what is best for you.
    I’m about to take another break (from commenting, I stopped blogging months ago) this week and may not be back for a few weeks due to some family involvements. I have already mentioned you to Victoria before I saw Howie’s comment. As you can see, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find people immediately around you when facing some heavy duty questions about faith.
    I wish you all the best in all that you do, whatever you decide.

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  9. ivertikol

    Hi Ratamacue0,
    I grew up in a little charismatic country church and had a great expectancy of God’s power at work. I had some powerful experiences as a teenager and became a very active spiritual leader of my peers, which continued into my 30s (recently). In my late 20s, however, I read an article which began a long journey of struggling through various stages and iterations of working through difficult issues — Trinity, hell, nature of Scripture/inerrancy, etc. At first, I feared the questions. Now I am embracing them, but wondering where they’re going. And many, MANY things feel far more uncertain. I am relieved to be out of church leadership because for me that was a tension for awhile, even though my church seemed to have some openness to questions.
    The thing that’s strange is, in a personal way, I experienced what I interpret to be God’s direction and kindness in my life in a more persuasive way just as I was coming to a point of wondering if I was going to end up agnostic. The direction was a major life change where doors flung open and got me out of a community where I think I might have “cracked” due to the struggle of trying to be in leadership in a church, and having the expectations of people who have known my passion for God since I was a child, and trying to work through these heart-rending and mind-challenging questions. The kindness was in events that surrounded the sudden passing of a deeply loved family member. The realization of what happened in the months preceding his death made me feel like my family was “kissed from above.”
    I realize these are subjective things. That doesn’t make them invalid, but they will probably not be the focus of this kind of blog in the sense that they don’t touch on the historical questions, etc.. (For example, my experiences were faith-building but did not cause me to believe in inerrancy.) The reason I share with you is simply that I identify with your journey immensely, and I am trying to hold the genuine, valid subjective experiences in one hand (and lack of them in some ways) and the “objective” evidence in the other. I really appreciated how you set out your biases in the beginning — man, do I resonate with those. I guess I am a theist, a Christian with doubts so big that I wonder if I am a Christian, but with a thirst to worship a true and just Creator. Is that thirst created in me? Has that desire evolved, or is it simply a product of my past times of spiritual experiences? Won’t God show up and answer my questions? I’m not sure of all of this, but I am looking, too.
    Sorry if this feels off topic at all. I think I just wanted to say I am following your blog, and that the intellectual challenges I’ve run into are difficult for me, too. I want the truth, too. (That was a kind of subtle but big shift, when I realized that my questioning shifted from trying to see how many of my prior beliefs could be rationally held to trying to understand more objectively what is true.) I am in grad school now and can’t take tons of time to read and study at the moment. But I appreciate your journey. Perhaps I’ll comment again on the more intellectual/evidentiary considerations I’ve thought about. But I’m still a Christian in the sense that I consider myself a Christ-follower, believe in the resurrection, believe God is Creator (not in an evolution v. creation sense, but in the sense that I believe in a Design). I’m following along with your search and appreciate you hosting this discussion.

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    1. ratamacue0 Post author

      Hi ivertikol,

      Thanks for sharing and following.

      Since you say you are also seeking the truth, I will throw out a thought for your consideration. (I hope it is not too bold, nor unwelcome.)

      Your feelings on the kindness you experienced during tough times, and on being “kissed from above” are all completely understandable. However, could there be some confirmation bias at play there? What other reasons do you have for believing that Christianity is true, that the Bible is from God, that Jesus is the Son of God, etc.?

      I really appreciated how you set out your biases in the beginning — man, do I resonate with those.

      Thank you. 🙂

      I am in grad school now and can’t take tons of time to read and study at the moment.

      Completely understandable. Best of luck to you. Study hard!

      But I appreciate your journey. Perhaps I’ll comment again on the more intellectual/evidentiary considerations I’ve thought about.

      Please do feel free to weight in. Thanks.

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  10. jasonjshaw

    Seeking truth is a challenging thing, but it is also quite rewarding I’ve found. I was never a believer, but I have explored Christianity in order to better understand where Christians are coming from, and found great value in many of the teachings. I also found many issues with how it is believed – including many internal issues where common Christian beliefs contradict what is in the Bible itself.
    I’ve been blogging about these different perspectives for several months now and I welcome you to come over to my blog and take a peek to see if it is of any value to you in your journey. “Christianity Simplified” is the blog title.

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  11. jesuswithoutbaggage

    Hi Ratamacue,

    I started following your blog but there have been no new posts for two months. Are you still blogging?

    You didn’t reply to my comment on May 7th. How are you coming along on your quest for truth?

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    1. ratamacue0 Post author

      Hi Tim,

      Thanks for the follow-up and reminder.

      I’ve been spending most of my time lately in “quiet research”, i.e. reading (and listening to) works of others, and commenting on others’ blogs, more than posting on my own.

      I’ve spent some time in the discussion on my protected post, but I had taken a break from that. More recently, I’ve slowly working through unanswered comments there, too.

      I do expect to resume posting at some point–probably with the reasons for my “tentative conclusions”. I will of course remain open to having my views challenged.

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  12. haydendlinder

    Hi Ratamacue,
    Just stopping by to check out your blog. I saw the protected post but I didn’t see any description as to what it is about. How do I know if I ‘should’ ask to join? I don’t want to ask and then find out I’m not really fit for the discussion.

    As for my two cents on this post, I am a Christian. Obnoxiously devout. Spirit filled charismatic, meaning I believe in dancing in the spirit and speaking in tongues. You know, the freak show. The embarrassing people.

    My suggestion for your search would be talk to God. Relax. He loves you so if you are searching he will lead. It’s not something to stress over. And don;t be afraid of discovering what is true is far more unbelievable than what is popular in church today.

    Anyway, you be blessed and let me know if I can help.

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  13. charles

    How’s the journey coming along?

    Whatever conclusions you come to, I look forward to hearing about them. It’s great to have an outlet like this to express your thoughts and questions and get feedback. On my journey, one of the temptations I have found is that it is easy to just uncritically adopt the views of those who have already de-converted. Those views may be right, but if I adopt them uncritically, then I am not really doing anything differently than what I was doing before (adhering to Christianity uncritically).

    There’s no rush. Be sure of each step, and enjoy the journey.

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  14. makagutu

    I must be quite late to the party.
    How has the search been? What have you discovered and on which end do you lean the most? Do you think Christianity is the only true religion or it is ok for one to be a Buddhist or even Muslim or better still a non believer?

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  15. rung2diotimasladder

    Well I can give you my story for what it’s worth. I’m an agnostic. I grew up in Oklahoma where the first thing that comes out of people’s mouths is “What church do you go to?” So you can imagine how conflicted I was when I had atheistic thoughts even as a child. After a lot of freaky experiences in all kinds of churches, I quickly became an atheist (calling myself agnostic) and couldn’t wait to get out of the Bible belt. In college I read a lot of theology as a philosophy student and came to the realization that I really didn’t know, and that there are a lot of intelligent religious views out there. I can’t ever go back to Christianity because it seems there is a fundamental mysticism to it—Jesus as God. (See Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling for a full explanation). I’m too much of a rationalist to accept something that paradoxical, but I do see the value in it. I think it allows someone who’s hit rock bottom to give themselves up entirely (giving up reason is not easy, though atheists like to ridicule it). This giving up is powerful.

    I’m just not there. I need for things to make sense. It seems like you’re in the same place as far as wanting a rational explanation for things? I think the fundamental question here is what counts as truth? It’s important to have an understanding of what truth would look like before seeking it, otherwise how will you evaluate it? For some, truth would be a direct revelation, and I personally wouldn’t be willing to dismiss that, but I haven’t had it. Some might seek an argument, theological explanations, etc. On this account I’ve come up pretty much empty handed, with the exception of the ancient Greek’s unmoved mover, 1st principle sort of God, which I accept as a possibility.

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  16. The_Physeter

    Hi Ratimacue. I found your blog just now after you discovered my most recent parable. I will want to do some more reading to see where you have come from, and where you are now. It sounds as though you and I went on a similar journey. We both committed to finding the truth, not to merely propping up one idea about who god was, and were surprised at where that led us.

    It’s funny how familiar the things you are writing sound to me. I suppose hundreds have gone through the same thoughts…the doubts, the fear, the sadness that we may have lost everything we thought was beautiful. And yet no one else can think for YOU. You experience your thoughts in your own way, and work through them in your own way. It may be that your blog echos what others have already said–and mine also is an echo, not original–but the conclusions we reach are not more important than the process we use in finding them.

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    1. ratamacue0 Post author

      Thanks for the read, and your comment.

      I read through a few of your posts, and definitely found some thoughts that resonated with my own.

      I’m working on a series explaining my journey. I hope you’ll stay tuned. 🙂

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  17. Professor Taboo

    Ratamacue0,

    This is such a respectful way to present your journey, your questions, and your raw struggles! The integrity you’re exhibiting is to be appauled as well as modeled! Well done!

    As I read the early portions of this post, I kept thinking I should share my utter upheaval of my Xian life, goals, and ministry in 1991. Not to persuade your path, but merely as another angle, another line of questioning you may be interested in. I’ll reserve it for now, perhaps until the next post, or later.

    Really enjoying this series!

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    1. ratamacue0 Post author

      This is such a respectful way to present your journey, your questions, and your raw struggles! The integrity you’re exhibiting is to be appauled as well as modeled! Well done!

      Really enjoying this series!

      Thank you!! ^^’

      I try to be honest, and respectful. Now – well after having written this particular post, and as a non-Christian – I find myself becoming a bit more tongue-in-cheek at times in later posts. I hope that when I do, it is productive toward conversation and examining ideas, or getting people thinking, or at the very least cathartic for me. :p If you ever find it counter-productive, I’m open to constructive criticism.

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      1. Professor Taboo

        Keeping an enjoyable sense of humor and being able to LAUGH at self, with others and at our fragile, yet remarkable existence, is certainly the Best Medicine! Don’t forget to be an adult kid sometimes! 😀

        You have a great attitude about life now!

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