An Apostate’s Answer

Justin commented on my recent post:

“If you didn’t know the Lord, you were therefore never a Christian” and then he threw some scripture at me.

This is one of the only reactions to my de-conversion that really gets me fired up. The arrogant assumption that the only possible reason that I (or anyone) could give up religion is that I was never a “real” Christian anyways.

I’m not going to go into personal details, but suffice to say I suffered for and served the lord as honestly and intently as one can.

I think the only reason that Christians trot out this argument is fear about their own lack of faith. It’s the same as those who say that since I don’t agree with the president, I’m not a REAL AMERICAN. As long as my apostasy can be written off due to the fact that I was never a believer in the first place, then people like you don’t have to worry about losing faith because you’re a REAL CHRISTIAN. I, of course, was only pretending the whole time. I was just too stupid or blind to realize that I wasn’t having the AUTHENTIC CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE.

If you can dismiss my previous faith, then you never have to deal with the fact that someone with EXACTLY as much faith as you can ask questions, be honest with themselves about the answers, and finally accept the fact that the Bible is just another book, and god exists only in our minds.

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18 Comments

Filed under Atheism, Christianity, Ethics, Humanism, Religion

18 responses to “An Apostate’s Answer

  1. Nice try, but that just is not correct. Think of someone close in your family. Could never convince you that they do not and never did exist? Of course not!

    According to the Bible, which should have the right to define its own religion, says in John 17:3 “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” If you did not know God, you could not have been a Christian by definition.

    Now, you COULD make the claim (wrongly) that nobody is a Christian because you believe God does not exist, but do not even pretend you were a Christian because you don’t even believe God exists so of course you didn’t know Him.

  2. Oh, and it is not by a lack of faith that I say this. I have faith in the Bible and so it is with faith that I believe that John 17:3 is true. 🙂

  3. Greg

    Scott I don’t think that anyone who knows you doubts that you were in fact a “real” Christian.
    Justin I don’t know you but please stop embarassing yourself, or at least spare the rest of us.

  4. steph

    It’s people like Justin that make me have to apologize for my faith. And I hate that.

    Ditto what Greg said.

  5. I’ve got the best friends a heathen could ask for. Thanx guys!

  6. David B

    The underlying question is a pretty deep one: “What does it mean to be a Christian?” If it’s things like working and sacrificing to further Christian ideals and messages, then clearly you and I were true Christians. We performed those actions sincerely and with a noble intention. If being a Christian means having a personal relationship with the Godhead, then obviously we never REALLY experienced that, because God is all that and a bag of chips, but still we left the faith (presumably because we didn’t view that relationship as valuable). Of course, there’s the question, “How do I have a relationship with a figment of my imagination?” I think Justin is trying to make the second, more complicated point, rather than trying to accuse you of being consciously disingenuous when you called yourself a Christian in the past. Does that make sense?

    My variation was about being saved, drawing from a passage from John (6:39 and surrounding verses), where Jesus says that those that God gives to him will be saved, and that Jesus will not lose any of those God gives to him. If I’m able to leave, then that means I was never really saved. If I was saved when I was a Christian, then that means I never really am able to TRULY leave.

  7. David, I can see that argument as being internally consistent, but in reality we’re left with two options.

    1) If the Christian God is real, then your relationship with him, (your “Christianity”) is indeed defined by his rules as set forth in the Bible, revelation or tradition. In which case, by the logic of the Bible, you are correct. Since I no longer have a relationship with him, I could never have actually had one in the first place. My career in Christian ministry, my fellowship with others, my witness, and the all of the joys, anguish, guilt and celebration that come with the Christian life were simply cruel tricks that I played on myself. All because I just wanted to pretend that I was a Christian. So in short, God is real, and he watches people serve him and worship him, even though he has no intention of saving them.

    The other option:

    2) The Christian God is not real, and any sense of His presence or “knowledge” of Him can be explained by other, understood (or yet unknown) psychological phenomena. In that case, the definition of being a “real” Christian is really up to the individual. Which puts some people in the unfortunate position of saying “You’re relationship with your imaginary friend wasn’t real, because my imaginary friend says so.” as Greg said, a bit embarrassing.

  8. mike baker

    i thought christians hated the fact that they are constantly attacked because of their beliefs. i guess turn around is fair play. i can’t stand it when people like Justin feel the need to judge others. i mean really does it make them feel better about themselves and/or their beliefs or do they just have their heads so far up their pompous buttholes that they can’t see the forest for the trees. you can only believe in what you believe in.
    you can’t really use the bible in your arguments anyway because nothing written in the bible is fact. period. it is all based on faith. if you don’t have faith in god and/or don’t believe in god, then you simply can’t believe that the bible is the word of god.

  9. You have a lot of faith that the Bible is not the Word of God.

  10. Again, I have to state…

    best…friends…ever…!

  11. You have a lot of faith that the Bible is the Word of God.

    I have facts to back up the fact that it is the work of men.

  12. Nobody debates that men wrote it. God used men like we use a pen to write a letter. We both have faith. The question is which the more intelligent faith.

  13. I’ve often wondered “which the more intelligent faith” myself.

  14. *Which is the more intelligent faith?

    Whew, you certainly don’t believe in grace, do you?

  15. mike baker

    “intelligent faith” boy now your grasping at straws. one can think for himself and one is pigheaded, close-minded and has not a leg to stand on. but keep fighting the fight. i’m almost converted. nope sorry it was just gas.

  16. It is about intelligent faith to be a Christian – not checking your brain at the door. Go through http://www.gotlife.org/launchpres.html and at the end you can click for more proof. See the RAMP part of the presentation.

  17. I could not agree with you more Justin. You certainly shouldn’t check your brain at the door, and I don’t assume that you do.

    But you have to agree, that there are may belief systems that are internally logically consistent that are based on faulty assumptions.

    It takes honesty and courage to face the weaknesses of those assumptions, especially when we feel like they are the basis for everything we hold dear.

  18. Correct. The presuppositions. Let’s go back to our most basic beliefs. What are your presuppositions that your other beliefs are filtered through?

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