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WHY I REJECTED CHRISTIANITY
Wayne Everett Orgar
To my former Christian colleagues:
I was raised in a Christian family. I spent a lot of time listening to Christian beliefs whether it was all day on Sunday, Tuesday for Brigadiers, Wednesday for prayer meeting, or the days when missionaries came to speak. I was president of the youth group, sang in the youth choir, played in the church orchestra, and as I recall, even went forward to the altar to dedicate my life to Christ one Sunday evening. I also attended Youth For Christ (now Campus Crusade) on Saturday nights, and went to Bible camp and Vacation Bible School in the summer. I did all my Sunday School lessons and memorized all the required verses. That gave me a good start on learning about the Bible, something I have continued to do when I have the time.
Now that I have spent considerable time studying about Christianity, its origins, as well as other religions, I have learned that little of what I was told was true or original. It is only fair that you experience what it feels like to have someone act as a missionary toward you, as many of you believe you are commanded to act toward others. I have no interest in forcing you to live according to my views. I hope you share the same interest in my Constitutional freedom.
In recent years, I have read new arguments that try to support beliefs in a deity, although they could be used to support any deity or deities. They are a little more than a rewording of the older, more traditional arguments that have failed for hundreds of years. What were the alleged gods doing for eons before they supposedly created the universe? Does it not concern you that the reasons you give for believing in your faith are the same as given by New Agers for theirs? All faiths claim their miracles and attest to "ways of knowing" other than reason and standards of evidence. You are perfectly willing to apply reason and standards of evidence to all other faiths but your own. I never thought this was honest or fair. Would you believe a virgin birth story from any other religion? What hypocrisy to accept Christ's virgin birth on faith.
A few months ago I reviewed an article in "Christianity Today" about the Mormon faith. The author did a good job of reporting the history and claims of this sect. He was properly able to show the lack of truth for these claims using reason and evidence. It is too bad the author stopped there and would not evaluate his own beliefs in the same manner. No doubt, he justified his beliefs by faith.
Appealing to faith as a value is a cop out. Believing something does not make it true. Having many people believe something doesn't make it true either. I bet you are not comfortable with the old saying from the 60's, " If it feels good, do it." It is no different to say, "If it feels good, believe it." Many people are comforted by their religion. I bet you don't use this comfort to say that Hinduism is true. I'd rather use standard methodology to find truth and risk being less comfortable.
According to Barna Research Group, most of the growth in Christian churches results from people moving from church to church, not from an increase in the number of Christians. Let's not argue over whether fundamental Christianity is rising or falling. The fundamentalist pendulum has always swung back and forth, in any country, for any religion. It will be interesting to see how long Christianity will last in the United States. It sure didn't last long in the Middle East, Northern Africa, or parts of Europe.
One of the reasons I have trouble believing is that the underlying theology is arbitrary and useless. All of a sudden, after eons, a god decides to do the most important thing ever and sends a savior so nobody has to perish for eternity. This idea is not original to Christianity. No compassionate human would make such a useless system of existence. It is merely a means to control people through fear.
Another reason I don't believe is the writing of supposed "Gospels" by anonymous authors in inconsistent and widely interpreted texts that weren't even named until the later part of the second century. Why wait for decades and rely on oral tradition to be badly written down? Any god that has no one write these things down immediately has no wisdom. Humans misperceive current events badly enough. Over time, the reconstruction of memory greatly distorts the perception of reality. Do you expect me to believe that the most sophisticated being in existence didn't have several people writing down these events as they happened, in clear language, with some credibility that could be accepted for all time? Close to 60 writers recorded events during the early first century in this region and none mentioned Jesus. This is, at best, careless indifference by your god. At worst, it indicates the lack of truth of these stories.
Why don't you find out the truth? Learn the facts of history about Christianity. Are you concerned that this might lead to other discoveries about your religion? Do you have the courage think independently from the standard dogma that you were taught as a child? If so, I can select a few items from my files to get you started. Just ask me. I can refer you to other organizations if you like. My guess is you won't examine other sources of information. Most people don't. My own experience tells me how hard it is to face the insecurity that results in self-censorship, once you believe. For me, it was worth the years and the discipline of facing one's own fears.
My testimony to you is simple. As an atheist, I often wake up in the morning and feel the joy and peace that comes from ridding myself of needless and oppressive Christian philosophy. I have found that I can live life facing whatever comes my way without resorting to complex mythology, substance abuse, or excessive social amenities. I have found that Christianity is unnecessary in living a happy, reasonably healthy, or possibly long life regardless of what unfortunate things may happen in our unpredictable lives.
I have observed Christians for decades now and I think you are your own worst enemies. Christian history and current events have not shown you any less likely to kill or oppress innocent people. You are just as concerned about earthly relationships, material possessions, and social status as non-Christians are. Few of you could make it "through the eye of the needle." Frankly, I don't blame you. I have read the New Testament and have seen how Jesus supposedly lived and commanded you to live. I wouldn't want to live like that either. Of course, I do understand that humans make mistakes and I don't expect perfection in you anymore than I do myself. However, the purposeful patterns of behavior and thinking over the centuries by Christians make me quite unimpressed and very concerned.
(Revised July 2002)
For more detail on why Christianity is not likely to be true, is irrational and is unecessarily cruel, see: THE WHOLE TRUTH, THE WORST STORY EVER TOLD; DYING FOR A FABLE; IF CHRISTIANITY IS TRUE; TELL ME THE STORY OF JESUS; WHAT WOULD I SAY TO JESUS? and THE GIFT OF SALVATION
1. Doherty, Earl. Challenging The Verdict. A Cross-Examination of Lee Strobel's "The Case for Christ." Age or Reason Publications: Ottawa, Canada, 2001.
2. Doherty, Earl. The Jesus Puzzle. Canadian Humanist Publications: Ottawa, Canada, 1999.
3. Kurtz, Paul. The Transcendental Temptation. Prometheus Books: Buffalo, NY, 1991.
4. Helms, Randel. Who Wrote the Gospels? Millenium Press: Altadena, CA, 1996.
5. MacDonald, Dennis. The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark. Yale University Press: New Haven, 2000.
6. Price, Robert M. Deconstructing Jesus. Prometheus Books: Amherst, NY, 2000.
7. S., Acharya. The Christ Conspiracy. The Greatest Story Ever Sold. Adventures Unlmited Press: Kempton, IL, 1999.
8. Zindler, Frank R. The Jesus The Jews Never Knew. American Atheist Press: Cranston, NJ, 2003.