10 Religious Teachings I Had to Unlearn

For many years I believed that at some point in the near future, Christians would spontaneously disappear in a worldwide “rapture” event and be taken to heaven...  This is but one example of what I call my "miseducation" in the church during the first 30 years of my life. I share nine more beliefs that I had to unlearn as I stepped away from Christianity.

The Extraordinary Here and Now of Christmas

As one who no longer embraces Christianity, the Christmas holiday presents an interesting moment of reflection.  It’s one of those moments where it seems like there would be a vacuum where there used to be religious devotion.  Instead of a spiritual vacuum, I’ve discovered that my enjoyment of this holiday has simplified and grown more personally profound.

Do You Double Down?

Even when presented with clear evidence that should at least result in an honest reassessment, we often double down on our opinion and become even more determined to defend our ideas when there is a perceived threat to the way we view a particular situation or issue.  After years of invested attention to the same ideas and the same kinds of voices that support those ideas, it becomes difficult to consider even the slightest alteration...

Clearing Space for Growth

Deconstruction of my faith probably began in a small way in my Junior College literature class in 1990, when I had to read the Bhagavad Gita and the Tao Te Ching. At that time, it wasn't much more than a novelty, but it was the first time I ever considered that there are other people in the world who knew nothing about Christianity and were completely immersed in a different world view.

Why I Left Religion Behind – Part 5 – How Shall I Now Live?

One of the most comforting things about Judeo-Christian ethics is that in one sense it’s easier.  There is an authoritative being who tells you what you should and should not do.  There is no urgency to wrestle over the nuanced and difficult ethical issues that every culture faces in this case.  Just do “what the Bible says.” But is it really that easy?

Why I Left Religion Behind – Part 4 – Right from Wrong

The last remnant of my Christian faith came unwound when I started to confront the question of how we determine right from wrong.  I knew there were various approaches to ethics, yet I was taught that we had a moral code straight from an objective moral source.  How could there possibly be a better option than a morality that comes from an entirely objective and pure being, who simply told humanity what to do and how to live?

Why I Left Religion Behind – Part 3 – The Problem of Evil

No issue has caused me to question my Christian beliefs more than what is often called the problem of evil.  Ever since the Greek philosopher Epicurus (342-271 BCE) first questioned the existence of God due to the existence of evil in the world, people have faced this problem and often walked away from the faith of their childhood.  The reality of suffering in light of the professed goodness and power of God is the catalyst that is most responsible for the shift in my own theological views.  

Why I Left Religion Behind – Part 2 – The Bible

As a professing Christian, there was always one question that plagued me over the years: Why did the Bible deserve the kind of loyalty and trust I was giving it? My beliefs about that book guided almost every decision I made, and eventually I had to ask myself why I allowed it to do so. Once I stopped viewing the Bible as an authoritative voice never to be questioned, I was able to see the flaws in it and begin to look for more reliable ways to find my way...

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