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My will to believe

By Brian Nelson ~

Currently I am a college senior about to graduate this summer and go to graduate school for business/accounting in the fall and my story is somewhat uncharacteristic of what other fellow college students experience.

I grew up with a christian mother and rebellious father who inspired my nominal faith. This all changed when I came to Tampa. As opposed to the "my faith was nominal until it fell apart in college", my "Christian" faith exploded when I came to Tampa. I devoted myself to the faith, from street proselytizing to leading bible studies and going on 12 week mission trips.

Thankfully when I committed myself to the faith, I joined an overtly Pentecostal tongue, speaking, rolling on the floor church. This motivated me to read the bible because I thought the pastor was not teaching what Christians should be taught. Throughout my devotion I came to have doctrinal issues with the church because of my new found knowledge and left for a church that I thought fell more in line with what Christians should believe.

As I was committed to not being deceived in the same way I was by the Pentecostal church, I was motivated to invest my time in reading and intellectual criticism. As the ardent Christian I was, I was keenly interested in the practical aspects and moral issues because I wanted to do what was right. Through much conversation and literature I came to realize how arbitrary and socially constructed the promoted Christian morality is. At which point I decided to continue with the faith as I endeavored to redefine my personal Christian morality.

This effect was compounded by my intellectual criticism of certain ecumenical doctrines. I embraced theistic evolution and a liberal interpretation of Genesis to satisfy some of my scientific concerns like the global re-population of biological species through Noah's ark. More confounding was what I call "the doctrine of exception", an arbitrary Calvinist exception in response for babies and mentally disabled that are destined for Hell. As I continued my journey I realized many of the previous positions I held were now untenable and that theologically and practically my faith was somewhat compromised and running on steam.

I embraced many liberal ideas in response to the peripheral difficulties I had in order to hold onto my faith. My faith was now holding onto the last intellectual straw and resting entirely on believing what Jesus said, someone that I saw to be somewhat believable who exemplified certain commendable characteristics.The litmus test for me was "can I believe this well meaning Jesus?", and if so I can hold onto my faith and forget the mess, because I'll pick up the pieces as I go.

It all fell apart when I realized that these peripheral problems are what define who Jesus is for Christians because the entire Christian faith was founded on this reciprocal authoritative nature beginning in his claimed deity authorizing the apostles and the authenticating of old testament texts, thus resulting in canonical texts and so on. So I was alright with throwing away literally interpreting texts like genesis and revelations, but when I finally concluded that the entire Christian ministry is founded on this process of authenticating in which Jesus un-apologetically approves of marginalizing women and claims his authority though the writings of polygamist, I could no longer hold onto what was so dear to me.

As all my friends are Christians I am looking forward to making a new group of friends, ones that are as open minded and critical of their own positions as I was of my faith. I'm still in the process of disseminating the news in an intelligent manner as I have recently deconverted.

Thanks for reading!!


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