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3 Sample Non-Complex Reasons to Leave Christianity

3 Sample Non-Complex Reasons to Leave Christianity February 8, 2015

I’ve noticed that there’s an erroneous perception regarding Christianity — people tend to think it’s an intimidating religion, with many theologians and apologists protecting it, and that leaving Christianity is saying that you’re smarter than a great many people — which is not true.  Very smart people can be obviously wrong  — they just tend to be better at rationalizing it, because, whether you are smart or not, you usually don’t want to admit you’re wrong (and this ability to rationalize can, in many cases, make smart people MORE likely to be wrong).

So you don’t have to be smart to be right; in some cases, being smart can actually blind you even more to how wrong you are. But as a result of thinking they have to be smart to leave, due to the intimidating prowess of some major apologists, many remain Christian, holding to what seem to be extraordinary views of themselves and the world.  They think it would be complicated to leave, and leaders of their religion often seem to set a high bar to dictate when it’s OK and when it isn’t OK to leave Christianity.

At the same time, the reasons for becoming a Christian are often fairly flimsy.  There’s not very much you have to enter on the back end to become a convert — almost anything will do, in practice — but there’s a very high bar set for leaving Christianity by apologists (to be fair, the high bare is probably also there because, once you admit you’re right about something, it takes a lot more evidence to convince you that you’re right about it…and the more you have invested in being right, the less likely you are to admit you’re wrong). I’d like to provide three reasons, just as examples, that I think are perfectly legitimate reasons to leave Christianity — reasons that don’t require a genius anti-apologist to defend.  Here they are:

1.  The Miracles In The New Testament Are Too Improbable

I don’t think you have to do much more than that  — I mean, really.  Out of the apologist’s context, would you believe it?  As Doug Stanhope indicates, no, you probably wouldn’t believe it. Most apologists can argue that the miracle is possible.  Some may try to enhance the probability of some of the miracles by the surrounding circumstances.  Some apologists, like William Lane Craig, are fairly good at this.  And they will say that stating a miracle is impossible is not quite right.  That can be a complicated argument, but you really don’t have to go there. You can look at whether or not a miracle is more probable than any alternatives, and leave it at that.  Regardless of your alternative theory — that Jesus used his secret twin brother, that there was a conspiracy afoot to preserve Jesus’s teachings, that the apostles were willing to die (if they actually did) for the lie of Jesus’s resurrection if they believed in his teaching, that Joseph of Arimathea (the secret follower of Jesus who owned the tomb Jesus was buried in supposedly) put Jesus in a tomb that would make it easier for Jesus to escape, that Jesus was not actually dead, that Jesus was misidentified by a stressed out Judas, that it was all a magic trick by Jesus, that the scriptures are so unreliable we really don’t know WHAT happened…etc., etc., etc.  Several of the former are improbable.  But they are less improbable than someone rising from the dead.  The sheer abundance of alternate possibilities here that are more likely than someone rising from the dead, or being born to a virgin, or walking on water, or turning water to wine, and so on — that’s plenty of reason to walk away from the story by itself.

2. If God Made Me, He Can’t Blame Me

God made you, your environment, and all existence in most Christian conceptions of him, and yet, somehow, he’s not responsible for what you do.  That doesn’t make sense.  Now, to be sure, the most weighty rebuttal, by a guy named Alvin Plantinga, basically states that God had to make you with free will in order to accomplish the most good — because otherwise you’d just be a robot.  But that doesn’t mean the bad stuff doesn’t happen, and even if God did more bad than good, he is still just as responsible as you are for the bad that happens if he made you.  He’s even responsible for the free will part, because the free will — everything it is made up of and everything that motivates it — is made by him.  If God made you, then all existence is ultimately his fault, not yours; you didn’t ask to be here and had no choice over what your makeup would be.  You’re completely his design, and the limitations of the choices you could make are his design, too.  Saying “free will” doesn’t change any of that.

3.  If There Were A God, Life Would Be Better

The common rebuttal to this statement is that God has a plan, and that he knows what’s best, so that you just need to trust him…but wait a second.  Why did you become a Christian?  Was it a promise that your life would turn out better somehow — that you would experience more joy, more peace, more love, more overall satisfaction in life?  If God doesn’t help you in your life and you were promised he would — that’s a perfectly rational reason for you to leave him.  After all, how can the others be so sure that God will plan your life out for the better?  They aren’t you.  Blindly having faith that God will improve your life isn’t necessary.  Even the thought that God has a plan is based on some current-day evidence, and if you can’t find that evidence in your life, then it’s rational to reject the belief that there is a plan.  Makes sense.  If someone has convinced you that there is a God by saying that there has to be a reason for all the beauty and ornate sources of inspiration that we experience in life, it’s perfectly parallel for you to say there must not be a God — at least one who is “good” — because a lot of bad stuff happens, as Stephen Fry pointed out below.

And there are more…

I could, of course, go on.  And I plan to.  But I thought I’d just give you a small sample — the basic gist is to not take apologists’s words for their statements.  Challenge.  Poke and prod.  And try to be consistent — if the reason you came to Christ is flimsy, you’re not really obligated to stick with it.  You don’t have to be a genius.  You can just, say, look at the virgin birth, walk away, and get on with life.  That’s the common sense you probably already use in most places in your life (if someone told you they were a pregnant virgin, would you believe them on a whim?).  It serves you well in other areas…why not use it here?

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