Why I Left the Christian Faith:
All that to say, I know from first-hand experience just how hard it can be for any passionate Christian to research material that strongly contradicts one's faith. It was very hard for me to do as well. And to be honest, the only reason I did it initially was to prove someone wrong who had been challenging me for a couple years on certain aspects of my faith. One thing I recall being challenged 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? ..."Michelle, if you are so convinced that you have the truth, then you should never be afraid to challenge it by researching material that is without a Christin bias. True research, should only validate truth all the more." ...That I could not deny. Nevertheless, since the person continued to press me with hard questions about the morality of the Biblical God and the validity of the Biblical text, I finally decided to do some digging, in hopes to validate the Bible as absolute truth.
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 was that if I failed to provide proof that the Bible was absolutely true (other than by faith, personal experience & what I had been taught), then I would risk people's souls being sent to a lost eternity in Hell if I failed in doing proper research. 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 influenced by man?? - especially when it came to the foundational aspects 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 it being inerrant & infallible were what always made it stand apart from any other 'so-called' claimed holy books or religions. Not only that, my spiritual leaders always taught me to avoid the kinds of questions that challenged the Bible. (Thats not to say all Christian leaders do this!...but most do.) Regardless, I was simply encouraged to just trust God & walk by faith as the Bible states. So needless to say, reading research material that challenged my faith was not an easy place for me to be in. Because if a Christian 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 was the fact that I didn't want any research to prove the contrary...let alone, cause any doubt in my strongly held faith. I wanted my faith to be true with all my heart (except perhaps the "hell" part). However, I knew this person 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 back in 2008 when I was challenged to research how the doctrine of Hell-fire was created by the church to induce fear into people. And since I was convinced the "original" Greek & Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible were infallible, with enough study I soon found out how the word hell was mistranslated from the original manuscripts. (Which means, the Bible did not really substantiate such a doctrine to begin with!) (You can see that research *that comes from a completely Biblical / Christian perspective* by clicking HERE.) To say the least, that was an exciting discovery and was an essential ingredient in the years to come in order for me to dig deeper & challenge my faith - without fear!
So needless to say, after a couple years my research started to evolve to much much more. Such research leading to how even the "original " Greek & Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible not only had plenty of mistakes & errors (making it fallible), but it also had intentional changes & interpolations made to original text by early scribes! (Paleographers can see these intentional changes simply by comparing the ancient Biblical manuscripts to each other....see examples of Scriptures with interpolations HERE.) 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 New Testament 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.
Although the main reasons for my de-conversion were in regards to the evidence against the inerrancy & infallibility of the Bible, as well as the claim that Jesus was God that ...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 continuing on to page 2: "More Reasons Why.")
So 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 he was a holy God and his ways were so much higher than ours. And that is exactly what I did throughout my 33 years as a Christian. I simply trusted. Regardless of that the fact that I wrestled deep down inside with some really tough questions about hell, genocide, etc... I continued to keep my focus on trusting God and walking by faith. And when others would ask me tough 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 Biblical contradictions about the love, mercy & justice of God. Luckily, I finally had someone in my life 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 pix here). 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 in some passages the Bible states that children are NOT supposed to pay for the sins of their fathers! - In other passages, it states they ARE to pay for the sins of their fathers up to the 3-4 generations! (See Deut. 24:16, Ezek. 18:19-20, etc)...Either way one chooses to look at it, genocide is absolutely unable to be justified!!
#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, see my page...MORE REASONS WHY.
Needless to say though, all the things I mentioned above (the contradictions, errors, mistranslations, & intentional changes made to the Bible, as well as the 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, put on the back burner, or simply justified throughout my 33 years as a Christian. However, in the end, I am so happy that my passion for truth ruled out. The answers provided by my Christian faith 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, while I understand why my web site may really bother some of my Christian friends & family...I also realize that unless we each take an unbiased look at the Bible from the outside in, and are willing to challenge our personal beliefs, then all the evidence in the world may not be enough...IF in the end, faith is the final answer to believing in something regardless of evidence to the contrary.
On The Bright Side:
No one has to lose their faith in Christian God altogether by doing this kind of research. Such research can simply lead a person to a more loving, less-dogmatic, less judgmental and widely 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/Bible literally releases one to become less judgmental of those who think & believe differently. It liberates and releases people into an attitude of compassion, love, justice, and acceptance.
That said, there are so many other views of God out there that are perfectly ok too - as long as it leads to a better, more compassionate world. (My personal approach, however, would be this one: A Secular View of God).
Regardless, not having to require a "certainty" in understanding the ultimate nature of who or what God is - is completely ok too. It really is! AND its also ok for those who not to believe in a God at all. Why? Because if their lack of belief is a result of a lack evidence, and truly wanting to find the truth...then in the light of such uncertainty God in all fairness should understand the reasons why so many cannot just blindly believe. He would simply have compassion on them because THAT is simply what a just, moral, loving and merciful 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."