Excerpt from a recent conversation with Christians on the Christian forum, Theology Web:
Conservative Christian on Theology Web: As a number of us here have been saying all along, Gary’s issue from the start is that he never actually studied the scriptures for himself to see if they were true before making a commitment to Christ. He allowed a blind faith born out of black and white fundamentalist indoctrination to guide his steps, and just as Jesus predicted in his parable of the sower, without deep roots his faith withered in the sun. Sad thing is, he hasn’t learned his lesson. In the same way that he zealously attempted to evangelize with an ignorant brand of faith, he now attempts to evangelize with an ignorant brand of skepticism. His faith was built on emotionalism, and so is his skepticism. The facts are not as important as attempting to debunk a form of “supernatural belief” that he now believes “is bad for humankind” …The same supernatural belief he himself lauded while claiming to be a Christian… Not very rational to me.
Moderate Christian on Theology Web: I think your characterization of his deconversion is unfair. Statements of that sort have a wicked way of coming back around to bite one in the hind quarters.
Gary: That is kind for you to come to my defense, but his reaction is very typical, and not just for my deconversion. Ask anyone who has deconverted from Christianity and they will tell you that Christians will often tell them, “If you had only understood TRUE Christianity, you wouldn’t have deconverted.” They then hand you a stack of books by NT scholars and expect you to read them. If you do not, you are told you are being obstinate and that your deconversion is obviously not based on evidence but based on your anger against God or a desire to lead a life of sin. Christians like Adrift just cannot accept that someone thoroughly investigated the evidence for Christianity and found it wanting.
Notice I did not immediately deconvert when I found out about the scribal additions and deletions. I investigated them and discussed them with pastors. I was then able to accept them as insignificant. I did the same with the discrepancies in the Resurrection accounts. I found them disturbing but was able to accept that these discrepancies had no impact on the overall historicity of the crucifixion and the Resurrection. The problem was when the dominoes continued to fall.
–Hell was an invention of the ancient Egyptians, adopted by the Greeks, adopted by the Jews under Greek occupation, adopted by Christians.
–The Book of Daniel is very likely a work of fraud.
–only seven of the epistles attributed to Paul can be confirmed to have been written by him.
–the canon of the New Testament has a very shaky claim to being the “Word of God”. Jesus nor any the eleven apostles authorized or “blessed” any of the 27 books.
–the first six or seven books of the Old Testament have no historical or archeological evidence supporting their historicity or veracity.
–We have no solid evidence that Paul saw anything more than a bright light on the Damascus Road. Hardly proof that he saw a resurrected body.
–Paul’s statements in Galatians and his alleged statements in Acts regarding his activities in the Arabian desert and his visit to Jerusalem contain significant discrepancies.
–even if we accept Matthew’s guards at the tomb, there was at least a short period of time when someone could have moved/stolen the body of Jesus from the tomb.
–there is strong evidence that the first five books of the Old Testament were written in the seventh or sixth century BCE.
–there is no evidence than any of the Eleven were alive when the first Gospel was written to verify its accuracy.
–vague statements by Papias are the only evidence the Church has to link the Gospels to the Eleven or their immediate disciples.
–why did Christians forget the location of the Empty Tomb if such a place existed?
and the list goes on and on. I have studied each of these issues. I spent four months studying these issues before I deconverted.
Many Christians would never be satisfied that I had thoroughly investigated the Bible and Christian teaching even if I were to read every NT scholar and graduate from a Christian seminary with a divinity degree IF I still claimed that the Christian belief system is based on superstition.
7 thoughts on “Many Christians Cannot Accept Deconversions from Christianity based on Evidence”
What are the discrepancies in Galatians and Acts WRT the road to Damascus experience?
This was the only other issue you listed that seems crucial to me:
“–even if we accept Matthew's guards at the tomb, there was at least a short period of time when someone could have moved/stolen the body of Jesus from the tomb.”
Paul writing in the 50's
“You have heard, no doubt, of my earlier life in Judaism. I was violently persecuting the church of God and was trying to destroy it. 14 I advanced in Judaism beyond many among my people of the same age, for I was far more zealous for the traditions of my ancestors. 15 But when God, who had set me apart before I was born and called me through his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son to me,[e] so that I might proclaim him among the Gentiles, I did not confer with any human being, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were already apostles before me, but I went away at once into Arabia, and afterwards I returned to Damascus.
18 Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days; 19 but I did not see any other apostle except James the Lord’s brother. 20 In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!”
Galatians 1 (cont'd)
Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia, 22 and I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea that are in Christ; 23 they only heard it said, “The one who formerly was persecuting us is now proclaiming the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they glorified God because of me.
Anonymous author of the Book of Acts
writing in the 80-90's:
“So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul[b] and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
Saul Preaches in Damascus
For several days he was with the disciples in Damascus, 20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 All who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem among those who invoked this name? And has he not come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?” 22 Saul became increasingly more powerful and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus[c] was the Messiah.[d]
Saul Escapes from the Jews
23 After some time had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, 24 but their plot became known to Saul. They were watching the gates day and night so that they might kill him; 25 but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall,[e] lowering him in a basket.
Saul in Jerusalem
26 When he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples; and they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him, brought him to the apostles, and described for them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 So he went in and out among them in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 He spoke and argued with the Hellenists; but they were attempting to kill him. 30 When the believers[f] learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.”
Ok, what difference did you wish me to notice?
In one, Paul meets with all the apostles. In another, only with Peter and James. And how soon after his experience in Damascus did this meeting occur in each account?
Maybe different meetings?