What a Surprise that David Madison Became an Apostate (!!)
I was a teen-age Bible geek, way back in the 1950s, in rural northern Indiana. My devout mother was not a fundamentalist, however, so I escaped that infamy. Quite the contrary, even at that early age I developed as aversion to the letters of the apostle Paul. There was no one to tap me on the shoulder and warn me: if you don’t like Paul, Christianity probably isn’t for you. My dislike for Paul had not diminished years later when I selected my major in the PhD program at Boston University; I chose Old Testament to escape excessive study of Paul. I would realize my mistake many years later, since Paul’s theology plays a major role in the falsification of Christianity.
But there I was at one of the most liberal Methodist seminaries in the country and in the 1960s-1970s we were fully alert to political/social issues, including civil rights and opposition to the Vietnam War. As I progressed through the PhD program my belief in God was diminishing (I had hoped for a career in academia: I could teach Bible without being a believer, right?), . . .
How fascinating. It was really hard to predict that he would end up as an anti-theist apostate atheist polemicist, wasn’t it? He starts out not liking Paul as a teenager. Nevertheless, he decided to attend “one of the most liberal Methodist seminaries in the country” and goes through a PhD program while his “belief in God was diminishing”. Presumably, he was preparing for the Methodist clergy, since he was a minister for nine years.
He wanted to “teach the Bible without being a believer.” Imagine being in this guy’s church! What this rather spectacularly demonstrates, in my opinion, is the fundamental dishonesty of many believers in liberal theology, complete with the usual liberal “social gospel”: which often has a direct tie-in to later loss of faith and atheism.
Here he was studying the Bible in a doctorate program, with intent to teach and/or preach and have a congregation / flock, and all the while he barely even believed in God. It’s dishonest and despicable. I don’t see how there could be any other way to view it.
I do thank him, however, for being so open and honest about these facts in his background. It’s a rare case of an atheist apostate being so transparent about the true original causes of his desertion of Christianity (even including the dishonesty and almost deception involved, and aspects that do not make him look good or honrable). This illustrates what has happened in hundreds and thousands of cases of rotgut theological liberalism.
And it’s yet another of the innumerable atheist deconversion stories that reveal the bankruptcy of the “reasons” put forth as justification for apostasy and abandonment of belief in God (or God Himself: if there is even a difference).
At least he eventually got honest with himself and stopped the pretense and game of being a Christian, when he disbelieved in things like the epistles of St. Paul, which take up about 23% of the New Testament.
I guess we Christians who have always truly and sincerely believed in Christianity (once we got serious about it: as I did at age 18) are the oddballs today. We haven’t gone around for years pretending to be something we were not, and haven’t become things like Methodist ministers who can’t stand the epistles of the Apostle Paul and barely believe in God Himself.
Wonders never cease in the world of atheism and apostates from Christianity . . .
Photo credit: Gwydion M. Williams (5-4-13). Religion for Atheists, by Alain de Botton. Penguin Books 2012 [Flickr / CC BY 2.0 license]