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Cracks in the Foundation

By Brad N ~

It is rare when I find someone with a common testimonial for their de-conversion out of religion, mainly Christianity. I hope to find others who have found freedom from a similar starting point as myself. Here is my story.

I grew up non-denomination in a healthy loving home. My parents were regular in their church attendance, prayer, bible reading, and were weekly 10% tithers. I admit that nothing was very striking about my childhood and my parents set a relatively good example. No abuse, very little shame, but a lot of worship music led by trendy Christian rock bands (the Christian band Stellar Kart actually originated out of my church). Eventually, after I got married, my wife and I found ourselves on a more conservative path and soon became Presbyterian, a denomination that many Christians consider a “stricter” sect of the faith, but still very reputable. I enjoyed my time as a Presbyterian; I started questioning many of the basic beliefs of Christianity I was raised on about baptism, how to worship God appropriately, what to expect in the “end times”, and how best to discipline my children (“spare the rod spoil the child”!). All in all my family and I were very happy in our faith and ha d a strong community that loved and supported us on our life’s journey to honor and please God in everything that we did. This peachy Thomas Kinkaid style Christian life would soon to come crashing down in a very quick and unexpected way.

I have always enjoyed learning more and more about Christianity, I think my inquisitive nature is what helped spur my interest into Presbyterian theology and way of life. In fact, I enjoyed learning as much as I could about any religion, finding all the holes and inconsistencies plaguing others’ beliefs but rarely finding fault in my own. One afternoon, while innocently reading a book about a new line of Christian theology I was not familiar with, I found myself becoming very persuaded by its content. The major tenets of the Christian faith were not being threatened based on this book’s interpretation and use of scripture, but a strong case was being made that shook me to the core on some very important but less essential biblical tapestry. How could my interpretation of scripture seem so right and perfect, and yet this author was turning much of what I believed right on its head! How could we both use the same passages in the bible to come very different yet defendable positions, we could not both be right! Other more liberal Christian faiths may simply have overlooked the discrepancies and allowed for more open interpretations of scripture, as long as the belief in an eternal God and salvation through his eternal son remained intact. My strict Presbyterian truth seeking heart could not reconcile the differences however, and here begins the first mental shift of objectivity that lightened my path and began my first steps towards freedom from the lies of my faith.

Unable to reconcile the interpretations between my beliefs and those presented in the book, I remember still, sitting at my kitchen table, the sudden and organic moment that the scales of subjectivity began peeling back from my eyes. The light began to enter. I felt for the first time a moment of clarity in which I could see my religion objectively and fairly. I whispered, "what if we are both wrong? What if Christianity is also a man made scam"? Albeit terrified of what I would find, I pounced on this opportunity and began a three-week deep dive down the almost endless rabbit holes of my faith. I quickly began to see more and more how blind I was to the fallacies I applied to protecting my own faith, my own religion. Only when I was free to see clearly was I able to easily apply the same skepticism to Christianity that I so happily applied to all other religions. Here are a few of the things I learned in those three weeks, the initial cracks in the foundation, that started the eroding process of my faith that eventually led to a complete religious collapse.

  1. The Exodus in the Old Testament never happened. There is no evidence of any mass migration of over 1 million people leaving Egypt at one time. 

  2. No one knows the real authors of Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John, they were selected by the Catholic church in the early 200’s AD, without good reason, except to provide compelling credence and authority to each letter’s substance. 

  3. Jesus is mentioned in no sources outside of the bible until 93 A.D. by historian Josephus Flavius in his writing Jewish Antiquities. Even then, much debate is presented about the inclusion of Jesus being inserted by the Catholic church much later to give “added” evidence to Jesus’ historical veracity. More than likely no outside sources ever mentioned the person of Jesus until the early 2nd century.

  4. The virgin birth was never intended to be a prophecy and was fabricated by the author of Matthew based on a faulty interpretation of Isaiah from the Greek Septuagint (or the Greek translation of the Old Testament), it was completely made up. 

  5. Lastly, the dozens (possibly hundreds) of contradictions that plague the bible, just look up “biblical contradictions” in Google and read them for yourselves.

I could honestly keep going, but these are the initial five that really spurred a fire inside that began the burn down structure of my faith. In less than two months I would consider myself an ex-Christian, on my way to full-blown atheism. I had no interest in exploring other faiths. The only ones I would consider even possible of being supported by evidence would be those offshoots of Judaism or Christianity. But this is only half my story. The more challenging and heart wrenching part was telling my wife and kids.

Only when I was free to see clearly was I able to easily apply the same skepticism to Christianity that I so happily applied to all other religions.Although I would not fully “give up on God”, as many would come to say, until two months after the start of my de-conversion process, it was three weeks into my study that I felt it was time to let my wife in on my mental and spiritual meanderings. I was on my way out and she had to know. This began the most difficult 4-year span of my entire life up to this point. My wife and I were both 28 when I left the faith. I sat her down one evening, on our little green couch, and simply told her, “I have something very important I need to talk to you about”, with a somber and defeated disposition. Of course, I knew her first thought would be that I had had an affair, I was quick to affirm this was not the case, but that what I had to say would still be very difficult to hear. As much as I thought I would never speak these following words out loud, neither did my wife. We were Christians, in love with Jesus, and living together and looking forward to eternity in heaven with our family! I finally built the courage and told her, “I think I have lost my faith in God and I see no way in coming back”. I think a part of her died that day. I feared the impact these words would have on her for days leading up to the disclosure and my feelings were warranted. A hundred thoughts spiraled through her mind, and I saw, no I felt, the wave of desperation hit with full impact. She knew me well. She knew that I was not one to accept or change my beliefs without very good reason, so in hearing me utter these words came the definitive understanding that I was serious, and this was no mere “test of faith” or temporary falling away that many people experience, only to come back more in love with God than ever. For weeks we prayed together, cried together, and talked endlessly on all the things I had read and learned about Christianity and why I now felt it was a man made religion, just like all the others.

My reason for leaving the faith was not constructed from bad experiences, abuses, lingering doubts of the existence of God, falling into sin, or feeling abandoned by my maker during a difficult life moment. No. My experience was organic, holistic, not being sought after. It just happened. In essence, my experience is different from many others in that it was so spontaneous. At the time, my family and I reeling from the blow, I wished I had never started questioning my faith. I desired to have remained happily ignorant of the things that I had come to learn and regretted the pain and anguish this brought my wife. For months she would cry out to God for my deliverance. Alas, God never heard her prayers. It was a tough departure with a hard landing, there was no soft place to set down when I took the leap. I was scared for a thousand different reasons of what would come next -- would my wife and I make it through, where would I now find my meaning and purpose, would I ever find lasting joy again without a loving God to guide my way, how would my oldest feel when I informed him I no longer believed the things about God and heaven I had taught him up to this point in his little life? I did not return to God and now 7 years in I am so thankful for the journey I experienced, where I am today and for what my future looks like. I have never been happier in my life. There is beautiful light at the end of the tunnel for those that are willing to seek it.

If my testimony is in any way impactful or others desire to know more, please let me know. I can write a Part 2 and follow up on the proceeding years after leaving the faith and the impacts it has had and continues to have on me and my family, the good and the bad. I can also cite the resources I used for the five claims I made that started my journey out of faith.

Best of luck fellow truth seekers. I am happy to be part of this journey with you.