Searching for the Baby in the Bathwater

This is a slightly edited repost of a post I wrote when I first started blogging last summer. I’m reposting it for new readers. This post explains how I moved from evangelical Christianity to atheism over a process that took some years to complete. Here is the original.  

Everyone who leaves the Quiverfull movement, Christian Patriarchy, or evangelical or fundamentalism in general has a long journey in front of them. They have to sort through everything they have always believed and determine what to throw out and what to keep, what still makes sense and what does not. This can be a long and difficult process, and can even take years.

I had been taught all my life to take the Bible literally, to believe that God created the world in six days, that Abraham and Moses really existed and did and said what the Bible records, that every word of the Gospels was true as written, and that Paul really did tell women to submit to their husbands and not work outside of the home. The Bible, I was taught, was infallible, without error of any sort, and was my guide for life. But when I found in college that my parents’ views on evolution were wrong, and that the Biblical account of creation could not possibly be literally true, I had a problem. What was I to believe?

This was actually the point where I first questioned my beliefs about patriarchy. I had wholeheartedly endorsed patriarchy up until this point, but if my dad was wrong about young earth creationism and the literal truth of the Bible – and he made this issue the very foundation of his faith and taught it to us with a passion rivaled only by his very belief in God – I realized that something was seriously out of place. Put simply, my father was wrong. And if he was wrong about this, what else was he wrong about? And how could I submit to him and make his beliefs mine if I knew he was wrong? And with that, I let go of Christian Patriarchy.

But at this point, I had bigger problems to worry about. I had been taught I that had to take the Bible literally but now I simply could not do that. In addition, when I delved further, asking questions I had never thought to ask before, I realized that, taken literally, the Bible was wrong both factually and ethically.

First of all, not only is the Bible wrong about how the world came into being, it is also wrong in numerous particulars, such as how many Israelites left Egypt (the Bible says there were 600,000 men of fighting age, which would mean about 2,000,000 people total, but at the time there were only 6,000,000 people in all of Egypt and only about 50,000 people in Canaan) and the correct dates for the existence of the various Canaanite tribes. In addition, the four Gospels contradict each other mercilessly and contain historical inaccuracies (how many donkey’s did Jesus ride on Palm Sunday? it depends on which gospel you read. similarly, therewas no empire-wide census in the days of Augustus). Sure, I had been taught to explain these things away, but I suddenly realized that those explanations made no sense when I looked at the problems honestly, and not simply out of a desire to justify my faith.

Second, I began to find that the Bible had ethical problems. God commands the Israelites to commit genocide, killing thousands of men, women, and children and wiping out entire nations. The law God gave to Moses treats women as property and even instructs fathers on how to sell their daughters into slavery. The New Testament was not immune to this either; God strikes Ananias and Sapphira dead for the simple act of lying. And this is a good, perfect, loving God? Something was seriously wrong here. And then, of course, there is the issue of sending people around the world whose only transgression is not ever hearing about Jesus to eternal torment in hell. I suddenly could not fathom how a loving God could do that.

Now that I saw the Bible as riddled with errors and filled with genocide and misogyny, I could no longer believe it was infallible in any literal sense. How was I to understand it? I had a problem on my hands. But of course, I wasn’t about to throw out the baby with the bathwater. I couldn’t very well reject Christianity – it was the core of my existence. So I set out to sift through the bathwater and find the baby. And in this process, I did what many recovering fundamentalists have done: I turned to Catholicism.

The Catholic Church admits that there are errors in the Bible, which it sees as a very human book that simply contains kernels of greater truths rather than literal truth. The Old Testament Law and the genocides were merely a tribal society’s way of understanding God, rather than being God’s actual perfect commands. This was an understanding of the Bible that I could accept, and, somehow, it made the Bible more beautiful, more rich and complex, than before. In addition, the Catholic Church teaches that Jesus came to die for all of humankind, whether they had heard of him or not. Anyone who lives life with the right heart attitude will be saved through Jesus, whether they hear of him or not. This made so much more sense. I mean, if I were Jesus, I’d die to save everyone, not just the few who might hear and believe.

And on top of that, the Catholic Church offered beauty, richness, tradition, history, and belonging. I studied the early church and found that even the earliest Christians practiced infant baptism and believed in transubstantiation. There was something beautiful about the sacraments and the ritual and the history. It fulfilled my heart’s desires. The saints became my cheerleaders and Mary my surrogate mother. I had new friends who accepted me for what I was, and did not judge me. There was comfort and contentment there. There was acceptance, and I loved it.

But once I had begun to think the questions kept coming. Why did the church condemn birth control? Why was masturbation wrong? Why did priests have to be celibate? Just believe, the Catholic Church said. Just accept. We know what is best. It became all too familiar. The beauty and richness was still there, but the hierarchy began to feel stifling. When I took issue with certain things in the church, super-Catholics told me I wasn’t being a good Catholic. Just believe. And I couldn’t do that.

At the same time, I suddenly found that I had other even more troubling questions. Why couldn’t God just forgive people, why did he have to have his son murdered in order to be able to do so? This made no sense. When someone hurtme, I didn’t have to have something murdered in order to forgive them. It suddenly seemed to me that Christianity was built on the foundation of actual literal human sacrifice, and I felt repelled. And besides that, how does God have a son who can come to earth and die, and yet he and this son are one being, together with the Holy Spirit? Let’s face it, the Trinity makes no sense. How do theologians defend it? “Human minds cannot comprehend the mystery of it,” they say. “Just believe.” Sorry, can’t do that, I stopped doing that a while back and I won’t do it again. If the Trinity makes no sense, it makes no sense. You can’t just make it so.

With a very human Bible and Christian doctrine that didn’t even make sense anymore, I had a problem. I began to wonder if there actually was a baby in the bathwater at all.

One thing I still held onto as proof of Christianity was my relationship with Jesus. He and I had been best friends since I was a little girl, and he was always there for me. I talked to him constantly, depended on him, loved him. He was so real to me – Christianity couldn’t possibly be wrong, could it? And then I started to realize something. Christians have set it up so that God can never fail them. Your child survives cancer? Praise God! He healed your child! Your child dies of cancer? It was God’s will, and he’s teaching you things through it.

In practice, whether God exists or not is completely irrelevant. Christians don’t get sick less, they don’t have greater financial success, and studies have shown that prayer does not actually help. And as I pondered it, I realized that there was nothing about my relationship with Jesus that could not be pure imagination. In fact, that’s what it was: Jesus was my imaginary friend. And with that, I let go.

It took me almost five years from start to finish, but in the end I concluded that there was no baby in the bathwater after all. You can’t force yourself to believe something you simply don’t believe anymore, and my faith died a quiet and peaceful death. I realize that for many Christianity can embody some excellent impulses – love, service to others, charity – but no matter what people make of it, it no longer appears to me to be divine in any sense. I can appreciate it for its history, beauty, and tradition, but I no longer believe it.

I have walked beyond the borders of religion and found that the world is still a beautiful place, filled with wonder, love, and joy. I have finally found lasting contentment and answers to the questions that before had never stopped pestering me. My journey has led me to a place that has, for me, brought freedom in mind, body, and soul. Life makes so much more sense to me now, everything all fits into place, and because I now believe I have only one life to live, I am living it to its fullest with no regrets.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • http://sciencenotes.wordpress.com/ Markita Lynda–Happy Darwin’s Birthday!

    That makes so much sense. You are very brave to take the challenge of looking at these issues directly.

  • http://sciencenotes.wordpress.com/ Markita Lynda–Happy Darwin’s Birthday!

    When you look into biblical scholarship, you also find that the “women must keep silent and submit” regulations are not in the earliest manuscripts but were added by someone upset that early churches were being organized and led by women (as you can note in the Acts and Epistles) and who wanted to use religious authority to keep women down.

    • Nick Hill

      Markita,
      Can you give some historical evidence of this?

  • kevinalexander

    What a long difficult journey it must have been for you. It was so much easier for me. I balked at the very first story. I was in grade one when the good sister explained that god brought misery, destruction and death to the world because someone ate an apple. WTF?

    I couldn’t get over the glaring injustice of punishing one person for the crime of another. If my brother disobeyed my dad, my dad didn’t punish me. That would be stupid and no amount of infinite wisdom can make a stupid thing unstupid.

  • Ace of Sevens

    It was similar for me. I looked at liberal Protestantism and Reform Judaism and found them more morally acceptable, but they didn’t make any more sense.

  • John Morales

    Powerful, powerful post.

    (The ring of truth has such a pure tone!)

  • scotlyn

    Why couldn’t God just forgive people, why did he have to have his son murdered in order to be able to do so? This made no sense. When someone hurtme, I didn’t have to have something murdered in order to forgive them. It suddenly seemed to me that Christianity was built on the foundation of actual literal human sacrifice, and I felt repelled.

    This!

    My journey away from faith was mainly based on moral dissonance, too. Although it took time, and various stages, I eventually got to wonder how Christians could say – “oh, all the slavery and misogyny and bad stuff is Old Covenant – the New Covenant is based on love”. In fact, the New Covenant is based on blood sacrifice and if you think of it graphically (eg. Aztecs), anyone would be repelled.

    To even think of it “symbolically” and not be uncomfortable, requires NOT asking the obvious question you ask here – “who decides they have to kill their own child before they can bring themselves to forgive another person?” That’s not logical, it’s not even sane.

    It is the very opposite of loving, because if you reflect on the different POV’s within this extremely hypothetical scenario, what is the person “forgiven” supposed to do now they are forever burdened with the knowledge that they are directly responsible for the killing of someone’s child? How could that be an improvement over their remorse for whatever other badness they might have done?

  • Rod

    A major issue that I see in your articles and many others on this site is, What is the definition of a Christian?
    Your early (and not current) family and associates seem to define it as those who believe exactly as we do.
    Others define it in exclusionary terms, as in, I am a Christian and you’re not. This is regardless of how you conduct your life.
    Many liberal-minded people who don’t want to make the leap to atheism or agnosticism can probably live with something like: You live a good life, are honest and treat people well, therefore you are a Christian. By this definition, most people would probably qualify, as would most decent people of other religions.
    Many people probably identify as a Christian when they think of themselves as a cultural Christian, ie. celebrate Christmas and Easter (although in a secular social way), go to church for hatchings, matchings and dispatchings, etc.

    It seems to me that Christian is really more of a behavior, and if you have to declare it loudly and often, you aren’t.

    • Besomyka

      I think most people accept the Nicene Creed as the definition of a Christian. I’m sure people self-identify as Christian in various ways that deviate, but every time I’ve seen a poll on the issue, the main points in the Creed are what people profess to accept:

      I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

      And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

      Who, for us men for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

      And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

      And I believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

      • Rod

        Interesting…. I vaguely remember standing beside my father in church when I was about 5 yrs old and hearing him and the rest of the congregation mumbling this, and I thought, What? You believe this? My opinion of my father faltered after this.
        I kinda think he was simply reciting it as he was taught without embracing what it said, and we as a family were never very religious. He was a pretty good father in all other respects.

      • Besomyka

        I think I’m seeing the same sort of confusion with the label Christian as I see when discussing evolution with the world ‘theory’, and that’s a conflation between the common-use definition of the world and the technical definition of the world within some specific context.

        In the USA people generally claim to be Christian if, as Rob says, they just generally think of themselves as good people, have been to some denomination of a Christian Church at some point in their lives and have some vague belief in a higher power. They don’t think about religion much, but if they do they self-describe themselves as whatever their parents said they were. The popular use term describes them all the way to the most fundamentalist position. It’s a very wide term, and in general use doesn’t describe much in the way of theological details.

        When discussing theology, however, the term Christian DOES have a more specific meaning (see the Creed). Christians, in this sense, still disagree about a variety of things like baptism, women leading congregations, when Christ will return, and the Pope, but they all agree with the key points of the Creed: the Trinity, divinity of Jesus Christ, virginal Mary, Jesus physically resurrected, an eventual return.

        If you deviate from this, then there are other terms that apply to you (although you might not self-identify that way). For example, if you just can’t make your self believe in the Trinity, then you’re a Unitarian; or if you think some supernatural being created the universe, but no longer takes an active role (maybe She set things up just so to make us all without more adjustments), then you’re a Deist.

        I think, in the context of this blog, people tend to use Christian in the more technical sense, since we’re trying to describe the details of some faith position. I certainly do, in any case. We just couldn’t have a productive conversation if we used Christian to mean ‘a vaguely religious person.’

      • http://sciencenotes.wordpress.com/ Markita Lynda–Happy Darwin’s Birthday!

        The Nicene Creed was adopted by the heretics who wanted to raise the Son up to the same status as the Heavenly Father and Holy Spirit. It doesn’t play for the Eastern *Orthodox* Church! You’re just showing that you’re part of a heretical movement that broke off from the original Christian church.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/butterfliesandwheels/ Ophelia Benson

      Many liberal-minded people who don’t want to make the leap to atheism or agnosticism can probably live with something like: You live a good life, are honest and treat people well, therefore you are a Christian. By this definition, most people would probably qualify, as would most decent people of other religions.

      But that is a purely secular description. Living a good life, being honest, and treating people well are secular things, so I don’t see how they can by themselves define “a Christian.”

      • Rod

        Very interesting points, I hadn’t thought of the Theory-theory comparison.
        My take would be that I would measure a Christian by how he or she acts, and Christians themselves seem far more concerned with what they believe, or claim to believe.
        I am still deeply suspicious of self-declared Christians.

    • penn

      Rod,

      I know you’re trying to be inclusive and that you mean well, but saying “You live a good life, are honest and treat people well, therefore you are a Christian.” is condescending. Christians don’t own morality and honesty. It’s like an atheist saying “You’re rational and have critical thinking skills, therefore you are an atheist.” You don’t get to identify me with your religion and all of its baggage.

  • keith

    Great article. My own journey out of religion went from Catholicism to Protestantism before the ultimate realization that there is no god.

    I found the RCC lacking precisely because it was all pageantry and hierarchical belief, and wanting something more I experimented with various forms of fundamentalist protestantism. This led to seriously reading the bible and discovering the same OT/NT disparities and contradictions. Also, being encouraged as a young adult to speak to Jesus as if he is sitting next to me was quite weird. It was evident to me that god was not actually in the room in any real sense, yet everyone around me acted as if he was. I simply could not accept this level of fantasy.

  • http://jfinite.blogspot.com Justin Bonaparte

    Great writeup on a long journey! Kudos to you, keep questioning!

  • grumpyoldfart

    Christianity … I can appreciate it for its history, beauty, and tradition, but I no longer believe it.

    The Christians gained political power in 400 AD and then followed 600 years of Dark Ages, 200 years of Crusades, and 600 years of Inquisitions. Plenty of history, not much beauty.

    • Libby Anne

      I meant the ritual and the architecture and the art.

  • http://www.l-a-s-h.blogspot.com Eric

    Great article, Libby Anne. What you described was all too familiar in my upbringing with my fundamentalist mother. It’s very frustrating to see the tyranny involved with the church’s’ suppression of intellectual freedom (http://l-a-s-h.blogspot.com/2011/12/virus-in-religion.html). Believers are simply not allowed to THINK. To me, that is one of the greatest crimes on humanity.

  • anthonyallen

    That was a wonderful story, I really enjoyed reading that. :)

  • Stoph

    My story in a nutshell:
    (Note: I’ve always been a very curious, questioning person; it’s just my nature)

    Age 11.5 yrs, summer vacation: Decided to be a Good Christian Girl and read my entire bible cover to cover before the start of the school year.
    Age 12: Realize it’s probably all crap, but am too afraid to declare one way or another because I don’t want to go to hell.

    Then one day I figured, if I can’t accept all of it, what’s the use accepting any of it? Like the Bible said….it is better to be cold or hot than lukewarm. ;)

    Then I spent the rest of my life living with my family having to lie about every single thing in my life because I had to pretend to be a pious idiot. Yeah. That was real fun.

    It’s incredibly liberating to be able to be honest about where I’m going or what I’m doing. To come home 5 minutes late and not be told how I’m a horrible human being that’s going to hell because I won’t “submit” or that I’m a “whore” because I kissed a boy.

    Sometimes I wish there was a hell just so these kinds of people could burn in it.

    The whole story’s a bit more complicated than that, but I’ll not bog anyone down with the details; it’s not my blog.

    Though, if anyone ever figures out how to stop being bitter about not having a childhood or being allowed to be a real human being, let me know. I sure as hell haven’t. I’m pretty enraged right now just from reading this blog. I can (usually) handle the triggers, but I’d be lying if I said they didn’t get to me.

    • Laura-Ray

      I hate to state the obvious (mostly because if you’ve tried it and it didn’t work, that would SUUUUUUUCK) but have you tried therapy? If not, then do. You sound like you’ve had a rough time of it :(

    • http://www.l-a-s-h.blogspot.com Eric

      Stoph,

      I hear you. When I came to realize that god & religion were…fictional, like GI Joe and Gumby, I couldn’t describe the feeling I had when I saw I was being manipulated for so many years. I’m lucky I became an atheist in my early adult life but the fact of the matter is that it still happened and I had a lot of resentment toward my parent and the church.

      One phrase I always remember is, “Within understanding lays freedom.” I used it when I was religious and I use it now as an atheist. I think it was that resentment and disappointment that fueled me becoming more of an activist and start blogging. In my research I learned much and understood much more. That in itself helped me on my quest as it was both therapeutic and progressive. So all I can say is put it to some positive work and even the slightest feeling of making a change is priceless.

      Eric

  • Laura-Ray

    This.
    What you wrote about Catholicism? That is everything about why I professed to be Catholic even when I was more along the lines of Universalist/Deist. It was just such a beautiful and comforting story. I still think religion has beauty in it, in the same way a lot of people would see the Greek Myths today. It’s possible to love the culture and the foundations without believing that they’re anything more than really lovely stories.
    I was really broken up about it when I found out that Santa didn’t exist. He was this beacon of love and warmth and happiness, and hope. If he didn’t exist, then how could there be magic in Christmas? My mom sat me down and told me “Santa does exist. He is the love and joy you feel during Christmas, he is the good feelings you get for sacrificing for the people you love. He is the love we feel for you. Of course he doesn’t really exist, but the things he represents are still there. You haven’t lost them.” And that’s kind of where I’ve come to stand. Religion has its merits, but being true is just not one of them.

    Also, I’m pretty sure my mom is pretty much a woo deist XD I am okay with this.

  • http://thefamilyofthings.wordpress.com Megan

    This was really interesting reading, and the comments were thought-provoking, too. I hope to someday arrive at a place where I can appreciate religion for anything positive it has produced. Just not there yet.

  • starting anew

    Thank you so much! You have no idea how refreshing it is to find someone that understands what it was to be in the Christian faith and struggle with the concept of the relationship you once had with the savior of Christianity. Its been so hard finding anyone who supports or understands what I’ve been going through, since most agnostics, atheists or whatever never had to struggle with coming out of being severely embedded in this faith. If you talk to a “savior” you’ve been brainwashed to believe in for so long and love “Him”, eventually “He” will become real in your mind. It’s so scary to realize that something you loved and believed in so unquestioningly was actually all in your head, including the concept of “His” responses to you. Our subconscious is so powerful we don’t even realize how dangerously powerful our own minds are. Christians have successfully created an answer to explain why it is that “God” doesn’t talk to us directly anymore and why you can’t see him anymore. Granted they will say you see him everywhere in everything he created.
    It is the most incredible feeling when you realize where this faith has manipulated you and controlled you. One thing I have to say that I’ve noticed, is the fact that Christians scream how persecuted they are and how harsh their lives are choosing to be Christian. Until you escape Christianity you will never see how WRONG this concept is. It is in fact the complete opposite. Christians dominate our world SO much and are probably the least persecuted group on the face of the planet. The people that do persecute Christians are their own kind.
    I also read your blog on the Homeschooling Christians. I balled my eyes out, because I was one of those. You hit it so true in that blog, that I’d believe you must know a little of what it is like to come out of something like that.
    When I first started to realize the flaws of Christianity and hid it from my family, they started to realize my faith was changing which resulted in them assaulting me when I came home from college for Christmas break I’d still be there and probably locked up in a room somewhere in that house still if a friend had not heard it all on the phone and called the cops. I’m still dealing with the PTSD and all the stuff that comes from losing your entire life that you once knew. Everything you said in your blog was so accurate you have No idea. I am still trying to write down everything that happened to me, but I have to revisit it every time I start to type it all out I realize I’m not yet ready to face it. Its been a long road and finding your website was part of that journey for me. Thank you! Thanks to your blog I’m one step closer to recovery.

    • steinbeck

      Go live in the Middle East and tell me Christians are not persecuted, I have seen it with my own eye’s…lived in U.A.E., Qatar and Iraq.

  • Ruthie

    Weird. My deconversion also took about 5 years. I have read a lot of people give similar numbers. I wonder if there’s some sort of larger principle that can be drawn from that?

  • Larry

    My life is the reverse of yours. I never had faith for 51 years and beleived exactly what you beleive now. Satan had me in his grips, and now he has you. What happened to me is very similar what happened to Saul of Taursus. What happened to you is Satan’s greatest victory, and you are proof of what we know, liberal colleges are not satisfied with only giving you the facts of history, science and religion, they specificialy target Chsitianity with a goal to “deconvert” young Chsitians. Do they also critizie Muslims, Hindus, Mormans, or God forbid (excuse the term) Atheiests? I think not, those groups are no threat to Satan. I pray that the seed planted deep within you will sprout again, and your parent’s prayers will be answered. God bless you.

    • smrnda

      I went to college. Christianity was in no way singled out. I took a course on the history of Islam, taught by an actual Muslim, and my first thought was that given the facts of how the religion got started, how could anybody actually believe in Islam? By the end of the class most people who didn’t know much about Islam came away thinking that you’d have to be willingly ignorant of that religion’s history to believe in it. So no, Christianity is not singled out, at least not in my experience.

      As for what education does, it gives you information and it teaches you to demand proof and evidence, and that anecdotes and personal testimonies are not adequate evidence for much of anything. Claims made have to be falsifiable or else they cannot be systematically examined.

  • DaveG

    Larry,
    I feel bad for you, and sincerely hope (since I don’t pray, it’s useless) that you find your way out of the darkness.

    • Larry

      Dave

      He is the Light, the The Truth and The Way. Please don’t feel bad for me, I have never had a better life. I feel sad for the poor, the downtrodden, the lonly and the desparate. They are the people that need our help the most. But thanks for thinking of me!

  • Vanessa

    This was very interesting to read, but also disheartening to me. Thought I have gone through the valley of deep-rooted questions about my faith, most times if I really stuck it out, I could find ways to logically explain things, in a way that actually made sense. I’m with you, i don’t like this “just believe” crap. It has to make good sense. I often look for sources outside of the bible that support the legitimacy of faith, such as “The Case for Faith” By Lee Strobel, which provides interviews from top scholars and philosophers around the country, secular and “religious”. I’ve also done a lot of looking-into about near death experiences and people’s stories on the subject. I’ve also witnessed a loved one die. I very much believe there is more than just this life. And I also believe in evolution but acknowledge that it does NOT explain the origin of life at all. I guess the difference was me is that i wasn’t raised in the religious right nor was i taught to believe that the Bible should be taken literally. I was taught that to do so, would get you all twisted into a religious funk, which sounds like what happened to you, and unfortunately, your friends at the church were not able to give you sound supportive answers. I still believe. Though I still have questions, that I intend to get answered. But I don’t give up, because I know first-hand that there is something more than just this life and this body.

  • Vanessa

    *Though

  • Vanessa

    After-all this is what happens when you take things literally: reading “do not spare the rod of discipline on your child” could be thought to be condoning whipping your children. Just read the story of Amelia Badelia. :P

  • i7sharp

    Hi!

    I came upon your blog after googling for blogs that mention of “Tom White” of the Voice of the Martyrs.

    I was able to skim through your beliefs just now and, out of curiosity, I would like to ask this question:
    What is the factual error in the Bible that you would consider most egregious?

    Thanks!

  • J

    I love your blog. In so many ways it is like reading my own story.

  • DavidM

    Thanks for sharing your simple and honest story. A couple of points:
    1) “In practice, whether God exists or not is completely irrelevant.” – Except, what if it’s not? If you want to rely on evidence, do you really have evidence that your former friend Jesus doesn’t exist and isn’t God? It doesn’t sound like it.
    2) “Why did the church condemn birth control? Why was masturbation wrong? Why did priests have to be celibate? Just believe, the Catholic Church said. Just accept.” – That is utter nonsense. That is a very silly caricature of what “the Catholic Church” has to say about these kinds of moral issues. Maybe you didn’t know any intelligent Catholics and you’re not entirely to blame for having such naive views, but really, you should have known better. It is quite easy to get information on these subjects.

  • DavidM

    “Why couldn’t God just forgive people, why did he have to have his son murdered in order to be able to do so? This made no sense.” – Two points here. First, “I don’t understand X; therefore X makes no sense” – that is actually not a sound inference. Second, your question is based on a misunderstanding; it should have been: Why DIDN’T God just forgive people? It is not a Christian doctrine that God COULDN’T just forgive people, i.e., without the incarnation and without Calvary. But there is plenty to say about why he DIDN’T, i.e., why he CHOSE the way of the cross. ….So , it’s worth noting, we appear to have here a pretty clear case of a convert to atheism who didn’t accurately understood the Catholic faith she was converting from. (Remember Fulton Sheen’s comment about the vast majority of those rejecting the Church doing so without understanding the Church.)

  • DavidM

    I see from elsewhere that you also don’t believe in souls. So if your former friend Jesus is real and people really do have souls and if unborn babies do too, I guess maybe that would be a problem for you wouldn’t it, since you’re okay with killing unborn babies? I guess maybe whether God exists or not is NOT completely irrelevant. That you could manage to tell yourself otherwise displays some pretty serious cognitive dissonance, it seems to me.

  • spark300c

    god is just and holy so has punish. You record is debt and some has to pay it so that record could be clear and then his perfect life covers your sins. John piper cover the issue very well about justification.

  • http://tracey-justanothermommyblog.blogspot.com/ tracey

    That you could come from such a lifestyle and change so drastically is astounding to me. Good for you for living your own life. I believe in SOMEthing. Something exists outside of my own consciousness. But it doesn’t need to be defined or worshiped or contained in a building. And there are no rules written by man that can define the universe and what happens to energy once it leaves one life form.

    Also? I have never understood mankind’s need to change the viewpoints of other humans when it comes to religious beliefs. How does what I believe truly affect anyone else? Why would they care?

    I hope that you are able to reconcile more fully with your parents. That must be very difficult…

  • Alexis

    This is interesting to me. I was the exact opposite. I grew an atheist and then Jesus Christ saved me. I grew up thinking God/Jesus/Bible was complete bulls**t. But I found myself yearning for something. Nothing satisfied, I always had to have more, and this describes every human being. But nothing filled it. My childhood was hard, oh man was my family messed up and I grew up very depressed. In high school I felt no reason I should go on living so I planned my suicide. The only thing that stopped me was a recurring dream I had about dying. Where would I go? Would I still be me? Would I be able to think? I didn’t know the answers so I did not kill my self. A couple of months later I went to a Christmas Eve service and there I learned about Jesus. It was the first time anything had ever made sense in my life. God created the world. He created man (and woman) for companionship. He wanted to be loved and loved in return. Ok that makes sense, we are made in His image after all and don’t all humans want love? Every single song/book/poem/movie is about love, it is the center of our existence. So God created Adam and Eve. He didn’t want to make them love Him so He gave them free will to choose to love him or not. (Satan did not agree with this, hence why he tricked Eve) The apple is just one thing God asked them not to do, and when you love someone you obey, but they didn’t. God was clear the punishment for sin is death, and sin separates God from us. What isn’t clear about that. Soon God got fed up with people disobeying him so he planned a perfect sacrifice. Perfect blood (from death) had to be shed to pay for our sins. There comes Jesus. He died so we would be forigiven. He rose from the dead to complete it. All God asks is that we realize we are sinners ( we make mistakes) accept that Jesus died for our sins, repent, and follow/love God for the rest of our lives. Honestly that makes perfect sense to me. Where do you think you go after you die? Heaven? Becuase you are a “good person”? Well then what’s “good enough”? What’s the bar that is set, because none of us our perfect. Do you believe nothing happens after you die? Do you believe that a collision happened in space that created earth where everything is PERFECT for life. Then one species came to be and created all the other life forms on this earth. Really? A common ancestor created humans, giraffes, and eels as well as billions of other species.? Honestly I find that hard to believe.

    • http://blog.luigiscorner.com/ Azel

      First of all, good for you to still be with us. Second, and I never though I would say it because that the number one weapon of the religious trying to nab a new convert, it was good for you to have a fear of death, given that according to you it was the only thing preventing your suicide. Now that we cleared that, we shall start:

      But I found myself yearning for something. Nothing satisfied, I always had to have more, and this describes every human being. But nothing filled it.

      Isn’t that a bit of projection ? Because, I know that a bit of greed here and there is par for the course in a capitalist society, but I am an hedonist and you don’t see me always searching for more like a junkie.

      Every single song/book/poem/movie is about love, it is the center of our existence.

      It might be important, but that’s a bit of an hyperbole to say every work of art we do is about love, e.g. Black Hawk Down which is about war or Dies Iræ which is about the Last Judgment. And even works about love don’t always portray it as an always positive thing, e.g. L’écolier assassin, song of French group Malicorne which is about a particularly warped love between mother and son.

      (Satan did not agree with this, hence why he tricked Eve) The apple is just one thing God asked them not to do, and when you love someone you obey, but they didn’t.

      The first two were just generalisations which undermined your eventual point, but here is something which, if true, is a reason not to worship God. One, God being omnipotent and omniscient, the serpent was here with God’s authorisation to do what God knew it would do: trick Eve. Two, Adam & Eve had no concept of good and evil, thus they couldn’t know that it was bad to disobey God: they got the needed moral concepts after having eaten the fruit of the tree. Thus, God setup Adam and Eve for failure, as he knew would happen. Three, well, the serpent tricked Eve with the dastardly deception tactic known as “saying the truth”: God was the liar in this scenario. Four, why in the nine hells did he left the tree in the smack middle of the garden with unopposed access ? Couldn’t he have put a cherubim guard to block access to the trees like he will do after the Fall ? Honestly when you have children, would you put a fragile object in the middle of their play pen or would would you move said object out of their view ? Above all, when breaking said object means their damnation ? Thus, God is more than a bit of a prick: he setup Adam & Eve for failure and then has the gall to punish them for said failure.
      And, I don’t know for the others, but to me your definition of love seems very warped. Unless you are mistaking “obedience” for “love”, of course. When you love someone, you act in its interests, obeying blindly to all orders it might have for you is not a prerequisite nor a consequence of love. Remember, they had no concept of good or evil nor reasons to believe beyond “do as I say”.

      Where do you think you go after you die?

      Nowhere. Does that perturb me ? Not at all. After all, I have been dead, or so near from this state as to make no difference, for billions of year before my birth and I suffered no inconvenience for it. What I do fear is dying.

      Do you believe that a collision happened in space that created earth where everything is PERFECT for life. Then one species came to be and created all the other life forms on this earth. Really? A common ancestor created humans, giraffes, and eels as well as billions of other species.?

      Yes I do, the reasons for the life existence part being that there are billions upon billions of planets in that universe, if it is possible that one hosts life (and it is possible: we are on one) one will almost certainly do and the anthropic principle stating that if the universe and our planet weren’t adapted to our life, we wouldn’t be here to see them being so; and the reasons for the common descent part being that it is at the time the theory with the most evidence. Although said common ancestor didn’t create per se the untold number of species which populates the Earth, it is just, well, their ancestor and that I wonder if that question doesn’t belong more to abiogenesis than to evolution.

      • Ree

        Azel you stated that you feared dying. Why is that?

      • http://blog.luigiscorner.com Azel

        Mostly the survival instinct inherent to all living beings. In addition, no one can ensure one will die painlessly, so I fear dying painfully, but I usually don’t think about it: I’ll treat this question when my time will come, if I’m even aware I’m dying.

  • http://TheBereanObserver Bob Wheeler

    I would gather that I am quite a bit older than Libby Anne, and my experience is a bit different. I was raised in a Fundamentalist home, attended public schools, and then went to Christian colleges and seminary, with a stint in the Army in between.
    I think that it is normal for a young adult to question his parents’ beliefs. You reach a certain age when you begin to think for yourself and are exposed to different viewpoints, and can’t help wondering if the things your parents taught you were really true, especially if theirs was the minority viewpoint.
    As for me, I never found the arguments for evolution very convincing — it always seemed to be a circular argument based on circumstantial evidence. And then when I considered what the alternative to biblical Christianity might be, and saw how messed up the world is, I decided I didn’t want to go there. And atheism I would consider to be the worst of all possible alternatives.
    An atheistic universe is hardly “a beautiful place, filled with wonder, love and joy.” It is a meaningless existence, a struggle for survival governed by the law of the jungle in which there is no final justice, followed by the cold grave. “Right” and “wrong” are artificial catagories that exist only in the human imagination, crime often pays, and the ruthless rise to the top. It is a world filled with war, poverty and disease. That’s the hand of cards that evolution has dealt us.
    As for feminism, it is doomed to failure for the reason that it is based on a false premise, viz., that there are no essential differences between the sexes. Anyone who has been married any length of time knows that men and women are profoundly different from each other, and any philosophy that doesn’t correspond to the hard facts of reality is bound to fail in the end. My guess is that Libby Anne’s “egalitarian” marriage will eventually turn into a matriarchal one, pretty much like her parents’. [In my generation it was pretty common to say one thing and do another. Most women of my generation would have claimed that "the husband is the head of the household," when the reality was, "If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.]

  • Anonymous

    Why doesn’t it make sense to you why a perfect God punished Ananias and Sapphiara for “a little lie,” when He is perfect? Any sin is enough to send someone to hell: “For whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend on one point, he is guilty of all.” –James 2:10

    You also mention that you don’t understand why God would punish people for simply never hearing the Gospel. All of us are born into sin and commit sin every single day of our lives. Especially in light of James 2:10, that is more than enough to send someone to hell.

    • Caravelle

      Would you respect a human ruler, however virtuous in their personal lives, who sentenced people to lifelong torture for the most minor of misdemeanors or infractions, like jaywalking, driving without a seatbelt, getting into a fight, smuggling a pack of cigarettes, whatever ? Would you consider this good governance ? Would you call such a ruler perfect ?

      Why are you holding God to a lower standard than humans ?

  • http://notabarbie.wordpress.com Barbara Schmidt

    Love your blog. I too am a “deconvert.” I relate in so many ways. I have not been able to read much here yet, but I will be back. Thanks for writing!

  • Carlie

    I recently found your blog and my own story is a bit similar to yours. Best of luck to you.

  • Gigi

    It strikes me how often many people react negatively to faith as children and make decisions — as children. That’s important because children usually don’t understand what they’re seeing or hearing. I’ve studied the Bible all my life and will probably continue to study until the day I die. Every day I read and study and pray brings more insight and understanding. I can say that I know more than I did when I was 10. And I had lots of questions at the age of 10. It’s also interesting how we humans put ourselves in the position of judging God. Some of you write that you were once believers, yet you still judged Him, rather than acknowledging that it was likely He knows things we don’t and He sees the world in ways we cannot. And we persist in assuming our declarations of morality are somehow equal to or even superior to God’s or that of the Bible. I find the pride displayed here breathtaking.

  • http://www.thewendylady.com/ gydnew

    Have you seen Julia Sweeny’s show “Letting Go of God?”


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