Heartburn

Deconversion is as powerful an experience as conversion, if not more so. The reality of my deconversion continues to puzzle me, confuse me, baffle me and astound me. I continue to reflect on my own deconversion…and like looking into a deep pool of water, I discover more depths of understanding.

I continue to puzzle…why did I choose to walk away? I was not born “Christian” – my parents were not engaged in any way in religious observance, and did nothing to instruct me about religious belief. My conversion came after a long period of rebellious acting out, drug abuse, criminal behavior and violence. I was like Nicky Cruz of “Cross and the Switchblade” fame…a gangster who found Christ because of a charismatic, compassionate youth worker who dared to invite me to a prayer meeting. My conversion was emotional, mystical and profoundly transformative. I spent years living on the fumes of that moment…studying my Bible, not for knowledge but to hear God’s voice. I was a passionate witness, and when I chose ministry as a profession, no one was surprised (except my parents!).

I think I really loved God and Jesus as a Christian. But there were times when theodicy would grip my soul and love turned to – heartburn. Agony. Hate. I truly did have a “love-hate” relationship with the notion of God.

But why deconvert? After over 25 years of ministry leadership and over 30 years of being a “Jesus Freak” – I found I was losing the ability to believe my own justifications for too many leaks in the wall. Upon reflection, I have identified two major issues that led to my deconversion: (1) the profound inconsistencies in the Bible, both internally and externally relevant to the experience of the believer, and (2) the profound hypocrisy within the community of believers.

Both of those issues have been dealt with on this blogsite ad nauseum – and I am not the intellectual powerhouse of some of my colleagues or apologists who come to this site to debate. I will just make these observations:

(1) the inconsistencies of the Bible are there – even most Christians acknowledge this. However, no one has been able to account for those inconsistencies in the SOURCE Book for the faith. Most Christian traditions – regardless of the brainless attempts by some on this site to deny or discount it – claim that the Bible is the inerrant or infallible or authoritative source for faith and doctrine. And without the Bible, Christians can only appeal to experiential, subjective and oral traditions to justify their current beliefs. And that is too weak, and it is too dishonest…the Bible is the cornerstone of Christian theology and apologetics, and it is riddled with inaccuracies, inconsistencies, brutal and polytheistic notions of God, and promises that claim to prove the divinity of Christ but have no relevance to the believer.

(2) many have made comments on this site along these lines: “who killed more people in the 20th century – atheists like Mao or Hitler, or Christians?” That kind of reasoning is very prevalent in spunky Christian apology…but this point is overlooked. Nobody – atheists, agnostics, simple theists, deists, wiccans, etc. – have their Savior and God quoted in the Source Material as saying “in this way will you be known as my disciples, that you have love for one another.” LOVE is the defining and almost exclusive virtue of the Christian community (yeh, I know many will argue that here – whatever). Christianity has established the 1 Corinthians 13 ethic as its central ethic. And there is the rub…they blow it off as if they don’t believe it. And they don’t, because it is a false ethic based on a false premise of an existent God who loves and wants to be involved in our lives.

The question is not “ who killed more – atheists or Christians”, but why the hell did Christians support Hitler (which they did)? Why have Christians supported the extermination of or discrimination against Jews? Or the subjugation of blacks? Or have church splits? Or treat one another like shit on a shoe? More people have left the church in the past twenty years than have joined it, and the most common reason cited is “hypocrisy, unloving judgmental and unethical behavior.” (Barna Research Group – a Christian survey group).

The armed forces of this country have a motto: “we will never leave behind one of our wounded.” Christians may have prevented the deconversion of many of their brothers and sisters if they had practiced this ethic as an extension of love.

There are some atheists who visit this site that have never believed, never been in a community of faith, never had a “relationship with God.” I am not one of them. I am one of the walking wounded…someone shot down and bled out by those who claimed Jesus as their Savior but never demonstrated the central ethic of his ministry. My conversion can be explained and understood in many ways that have nothing to do with spiritual reality. My deconversion can be explained primarily by this: the Bible is a joke, and most Christians are reprehensible. If I look beyond the excuses, I cannot see a real God behind this miserable excuse for a religion.


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