2/16/2011 | Share this article:By sola veritas ~
Unlike many who have shared their stories here, I did not lose my faith because I was mistreated by anyone in the church. In fact, ever since I was baptized as a teen – some 30 years ago – I have received nothing but love, support, and kindness from those in the church. This is particularly true in the church where I now attend with my wife and children – a church that emphasizes community, peace-making, and social justice, and where even the evangelical element is devoid of hellfire and brimstone. In a way, this makes my loss of faith even harder.
Nor did I lose my faith because of any trauma, or because of any particular event. My faith simply leaked out of me when I could no longer ignore the doubts, and when I finally confronted them, head on, in an honest search for the truth. Over the course of a few years I read close to 100 books by non-believers new and old (e.g., Paine, Russell, Ingersoll, Twain, Darwin, Sagan, Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, Dennett, Loftus, Barker, Tarico), and by believers new and old (e.g., Augustine, Calvin, Luther, Van Til, Chesterton, Lewis, Craig, Plantinga, Keller, D’Souza). Needless to say, I found the first group more persuasive.
I also reread the entire Bible, this time noting its constant stream of errors, inconsistencies, and nonsense. I also looked back on my life in the church and noted the absence of anything supernatural either in my own experience or in those around me - even those who would themselves testify to the manifestations of the “grace of God” in their lives.
I “came out” to my wife two years ago, and then to a few friends in my church. They all hope it is just a phase, or a mid-life crisis, or a “dark night of the soul” that will lead me to a more mature faith. Given all the good things the church has given me, and given that most of my friends and family are believers, this makes my loss of faith that much harder, and lonelier.
My wife feels betrayed. My friends don’t understand me. I lie to my children by omission (at my wife’s request, so as not to undermine their developing faith). Sometimes the loneliness is overwhelming.
So thanks for this web site, and thanks for reading.
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