One of the things that annoys me tremendously is when a devout Christian claims to know and understand my reasons for leaving Christianity better than I do.
Image via WikipediaI've gotten this a number of times, and I've seen Christians do it to other apostates as well. It's always puzzled me. After all, I am the person who has lived my own life, not anyone else. It would stand to reason that, living in my own skin and my own head, I understand my motivations, feelings, experiences, and so on better than anyone else possibly could. I have never understood how anyone could be so unabashedly arrogant as to presume to know me better than I do. It simply isn't possible.
So I've had a difficult time understanding how any Christian could insist that they "know the real reason" why I left, in contradiction to my actual reasons. What's particularly mindboggling is to hear a believer assert my motivations without actually hearing anything about me or my story beforehand! I've found myself wondering, "Why don't they just ask me, if they really want to know what happened?? And why don't they seem to believe me, when I do tell them??"
The answer, I suspect, is simple. Christians don't ask apostates why we left, because they don't need to. The Bible already tells them.
Check out 2 Peter 2 for a Biblical description of apostates, paying special attention to verses 20 and 21. By this account, apostates are utterly depraved, shameful, wicked, arrogant beasts deserving of a punishment worse than if we had never been believers in the first place. By this account, we leave because we want to tempt believers and live self-absorbed lives of sin. John 3:19 puts it more simply: we leave because we prefer evil. Psalm 14:1 adds that we are fools whose deeds are corrupt and vile. Romans 1:18-32 offers further details of what kind of degeneracy apostates will descend into.
Regardless of whether or not we fall into another religion, or lapse into full-blown godlessness, the Bible tells Christians that apostates leave because we want to live lives of sin. It tells them that we chose to live sinful lives, and that we want to tempt true believers into the same godless depravity in which we live.
It isn't true, of course: the actual reasons why apostates leave the faith are many and varied. Our leaving isn't always entirely under our control, and it isn't always a conscious choice or matter of will. And we don't generally become slavering moral degenerates, either. When it comes to apostasy, the Bible does not describe reality at all.
But for a devout, Bible-believing Christian, the Bible trumps reality.
To a Bible-believing Christian, the Bible is more than simply a book of interesting stories. It's a work dictated by God, even if God wasn't holding the pen. The Bible isn't God, but it contains God's alleged opinions, mandates, laws, and wishes for humanity. So if the Bible claims that apostates are degenerates choosing to live sinful lives, it's as good as if God said so. The Bible is the Truth with a capital T, sterling, unchanging, and undeniable, to a devout believer.
And if you believe in Truth, why let a pesky little thing like reality get in your way?