PART 1 , 2-1, 2-2, 3, 4, 5, 6-1, 6-2, 7-1, 7-2, 8
(See my You Tube Playlist HERE to watch the whole series more easily.)
Why I Left the Christian Faith:
That being said, please keep in mind that it was the actual "book(s)" by Bart Ehrman & the documentaries by Robert Beckford that were the main sources for my de-conversion. (See links to their info down below.)
Now, for those who know me well, you know just how passionate I was about my faith. I was never one who listened to those who (as the Bible states) "just "tickled my ears" (2 Tim. 4:3) with teachings that made me feel better, etc. I was all about the Bible being the inherent Word of God and ABSOLUTE TRUTH and whatever it said, I held onto with all my heart...regardless of how it made me feel. Not only that, I loved Jesus more than life itself and I never wanted to jeopardize that. (Read more of My Story here.) So, lets just say, if I wasn't a Christian, then nobody can be. I was 100% sold out and convinced that Jesus (and the Christian faith) was the only way to God the Father. So needless to say, my de-conversion did not come easily.
All that to say, I know from first-hand experience just how hard it can be for any passionate Christian to look into research material like I have listed here on this page. It was very hard for me to do as well. And to be honest, the only reason I did it initially was to prove my friend wrong who had been challenging me for a couple years on certain aspects of my faith. One thing I recall him challenging me on was that if I was so confident that I had the absolute truth, then why was I so unwilling to research anything that contradicted it? "If you have the truth then you should never be afraid to challenge it" he said - "for research should only validate truth all the more." That I could not deny. Nevertheless, since the person continued to ask me hard questions, I finally decided to do some digging, in hopes to validate my faith to him. Now I never would have embarked on such a journey on my own in a million years, because I never wanted to even entertain the idea of tampering with my faith which was very precious to me. And I definitely didn't like the idea of challenging what I believed to be "God's Holy Word" in any way, shape or form. One big reason why being that if I failed to provide proof that the Bible was absolutely true, then I would risk people's souls being sent to a lost eternity in Hell. Not only that, if the whole Bible was not infallible & inerrant, then how was I to prove which parts were truly inspired by God and which parts were simply written by man - especially when it came to the foundational points of my faith?? Truth was, it was much easier to believe by faith that the whole Bible was the inerrant & infallible Word of God. In this way, I did not risk the Bible losing its credibility to those I was trying to convert, since its inerrancy & infallibility were what always made it stand apart from any other claimed holy books or religions. Not only that, my spiritual leaders always taught me to avoid the kinds of questions that challenged the Bible. I was simply encouraged to just trust God & walk by faith as the Bible states. So needless to say, as I began my research, this was a real hard place for me to be in as a Christian because once one starts to doubt the Bible's validity, then the whole core message risks being challenged too ...and that really scared me! But in reality, I think what it really boiled down to for me (& most Christians for that mater) was the fact that I didn't want any research to prove the contrary. I wanted my faith to be true with all my heart (except perhaps the "hell" part). However, I knew my friend was right. I was afraid to research the other side and I needed to prove I could do it and still come out with my faith. And so the journey began...
* The Main Sources for My De-Conversion *
It all kick-started with researching how the doctrine of Hell was created by the church to induce fear into people. And since I was convinced the original manuscripts of the Bible (in Greek and Hebrew) were infallible, with enough study I soon found out how the word hell was mistranslated from the original manuscripts (which did not really substantiate such a doctrine to begin with). (See that research here.) That was an exciting discovery to say the least. However, within a couple years my research evolved to much much more. Such research as learning also how the "original manuscripts" of the Bible were not only full of mistakes, but also had intentional changes made to them by early scribes. (Paleographers can see these intentional changes simply by comparing the ancient Biblical manuscripts to each other). Such changes (whether made by early scribes or later translators) were often made by those who were trying to promote what they personally believed or by those who were trying to validate Biblical prophecy. (For a more in- depth study of the ancient manuscripts of the Bible, simply check out Bart Ehrman's books (one of America's leading scholars) ...but more in particular his book "Misquoting Jesus."
The Deification of Jesus
The other big kicker for me was learning how Jesus was deified by the disciples & the early church. Robert Beckford's documentary: "The Hidden Story of Jesus" (among other research) had a huge impact on me...which I happened to come across during the same month that I was researching the credibility of the Bible. (A more in depth study on this topic can be found by reading Bart Ehrman's book: "How Jesus Became God.")
Although it was mainly the evidence against the inerrancy & infallibility of the Bible, as well as the claim that Jesus was God that were the main reasons for my de-conversion...there were still some other big "moral issues" I had to come to terms with in regards to the God depicted in the Bible. I will try to quickly describe just a few (namely 4) of these moral arguments in my own words here. (You can view many more by scrolling way down below.)
To start, lets just say that, like many Christians, I was taught that God was the perfect example of love, justice, mercy & forgiveness, and that we needed only but trust his ways because they were so much higher than ours. And that is exactly what I did throughout my 33 years as a Christian. Although I still wrestled deep down inside from time to time with some really tough questions, I continued to keep my focus on trusting God and walking by faith. And when others would ask me similar questions, I would give them the same pad answers that were given to me. However, what I really needed was someone to be raw honest and admit there were obvious flaws in the Biblical stories that contradicted the love & justice of God. My friend was the one who did that for me and although it was really hard to come to terms with for the first couple years, I finally allowed my inner moral guide & common sense to kick in. Here are just a few (of many) of the moral arguments I had to come to terms with...
(For a more extensive list CLICK HERE.)
#1 GENOCIDE (See graphic pix here for a reality check). God not only had the "guilty" slaughtered when He commanded genocide 1Sam. 15:3) but he also commanded the murder of innocent babies, children & animals (even though the Bible states that children are not supposed to pay for the sins of their fathers - see Deut. 24:16, Ezek. 18:19-20, etc).
#3: HUMAN BLOOD SACRIFICE: According to see Jer 7:31, etc, human sacrifice is detestable to God. Yet, God chose human sacrifice as an example to prove his great love for us when the pagans were condemned for this very practice!?? If God is all-powerful and perfect in love, then again, why couldn't he just simply forgive his enemies just like he commands us to forgive ours (Luke 6:27-37)?...without having to shed any blood / murder someone?? (See 2 min video here) And why does blood have to be shed in the first place? What does an all-powerful & perfect God even need with blood?? (Remember God was the one who established the necessity of shedding blood to cover sin in the first place! See Heb. 9:10; Gen 3:21.) I would think an all-powerful, loving God could come up with a much better solution wouldn't you think? Like perhaps "simply just forgive??!" To say He couldn't just forgive means he is not all powerful...and even if he was, then he obviously is not the loving, merciful heavenly father we were taught he is!)
...Sooooo those are just a few examples of my moral arguments. For many more...CLICK HERE.
Needless to say though, all the things I mentioned above (including the contradictions, errors, mistranslations, & intentional changes made to the Bible, deification of Jesus by the apostles & early church, and the immoral acts of the Biblical God) are just a few examples of things that I either clearly avoided or simply justified throughout my 33 years as a Christian. But finally, in the end, I am so happy that I decided that "truth" was more important to me than anything else.
The answers provided by Christianity to my questions simply were no longer enough. They no longer satisfied me that they were true and accurate or reflected the way the world really was.
So, yeah, I understand why my web site may really bother some of my Christian friends & family. I really do. But I also realize that unless one takes an unbiased look at the Bible from the outside in, and is willing to challenge their faith, then all the evidence in the world will not be enough to convince them of anything. (Because the very essence of what faith involves is "believing in something that one one cannot see / prove.") Nevertheless, I also think that to be able to really challenge one's faith, is one of the most truthful and honest things a Christian can do. And although some still try to defend or deny the obvious contradictions to me or make up poor excuses (like I used to) for the immoral acts justified in the Bible - now I simply see if for what it is...and there's no turning back. My passion for truth is no longer quenched by what I was indoctrinated to believe and that has set me free to go on the the most liberating journey I have ever been on!
On The Bright Side:
No one has to lose their faith in God altogether by doing this kind of research. Such research can simply lead a person to a more loving, less-dogmatic, less judgmental and open-minded view of God. It does not have to lead to one losing their faith in God altogether (even though that may be the case for some). Learning to be more open-minded & able to adjust one's view of God opens the door to becoming less judgmental of those who think / believe differently, and this can be very liberating - not only for the Christian, but for so many around them.
There are so many other views of God out there too - including a Secular View of God - that do not have to require a "certainty" in understanding the ultimate nature of who or what that is - and that's ok. It really is! AND its also ok for those who choose not to believe in a God at all. Why? Because if there is such a good and loving God out there, then in the light of such uncertainty & lack of solid evidence (regarding God's existence or regarding which religious belief about him is correct - let alone any at all) then God would understand the reasons why so many cannot just blindly believe. At that point, he would simply have compassion on them because THAT is what a moral, loving, merciful and just God would do!
can have is simply this...
Always, always, always have a belief system that doesn’t resist change. Go where the information leads you, without fear, because surely the truth is never something to dread."