I grew up in a fundamentalist Baptist family. I prayed to Jesus to be my Lord and Savior and to forgive me of all my sins at the age of nine. I was baptized shortly thereafter. During my teen years, I felt a lack of assurance of faith, and once again prayed to Jesus to save me…just to be sure.
In my early twenties I left evangelical Christianity due to a lack of “feeling” God. Everyone else seemed to feel God “move” them or “lead” them. I did not. I decided something must be wrong with me.
In my thirties and early forties I attended liberal mainline Protestant churches from time to time, when I was in the mood for a religious experience, but I was not devout.
In my mid forties I got married and had children. The responsibility of raising children and the thought that I would determine their spiritual/religious views brought me back to fundamentalist Christianity. I did not want to “lead my children astray”. I did not want to cause my children to go to Hell. I joined the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod and believed that I had discovered “true” Christianity.
I was very happy as a conservative (confessional) Lutheran. It is a beautiful liturgical Church. In this branch of Christianity, my eternal salvation is based on GOD’S act of justification in Holy Baptism, not on my good works, nor on my possession of adequate faith and repentance in an evangelical born again experience. The doctrines and teachings of the Lutheran Confessions seemed to me to correctly interpret the Bible.
Then one fateful day as I was surfing the internet, I came across the blog of an ex-fundamentalist Baptist pastor turned atheist. I was horrified to read his blasphemy against my Lord and Savior. I took it upon myself to bring this “back-slidden sinner” back to Jesus Christ. I believed that if I just exposed him to TRUE Christianity (confessional Lutheranism), he would see the light and return to Christianity. How wrong I was! Four months later it was I who had seen the “light”…
…I had become an agnostic.
What did this former pastor/turned atheist say that convinced me that my cherished, beloved Christian faith was false? Well, to put it simply, he told me to read the books of former evangelical Christian turned agnostic, New Testament scholar, Bart Ehrman, starting with “Misquoting Jesus”.
If you have questions regarding your Christian faith, I would encourage you to read Ehrman’s books. From there, read this blog and the blogs of other skeptics, atheists, and agnostics; interact with former Christians who have been through the same struggles that you are now experiencing.
And I will give you this piece of advice: If your faith is more important to you than knowing the truth, don’t read one more sentence of this blog or that of any other ex-Christian blog. But if the truth—the real truth no matter how cold, ugly, and painful it may be—matters more to you than the comfort and security of your faith, step out of the Christian “bubble” and explore the criticisms of your Christian belief system. Find out why there are so many ex-Christians, of all denominations, who believe that the Christian belief system is based primarily on assumptions, hearsay, superstitions, and wishful thinking. There is scant evidence to support the fantastical supernatural claims of this ancient religion.
Above all, think for yourself! Don’t let anyone intimidate you with fear tactics. Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t know enough to make an intelligent decision as to the believability of the central Christian claims. You don’t need a degree in theology to determine the probability that first century virgins were impregnated by ghosts or that first century dead men really could rise from the dead. Study the evidence and come to your own conclusions, my friend.
Best wishes on your journey,