I guess I should start about how reluctant I am to sit and write about this particular subject. I’ve been staring at my screen, starting, restarting, writing and deleting. Instead of leading off with an aggravating introduction, perhaps I should just get to the point.
And that point is this: I can no longer call myself in good, clear conscience, a Christian. This didn’t just fall upon me one day when I wasn’t looking. I’ve always held a certain degree of skepticism about the story itself, the prophesies of the Old Testament leading to Jesus Christ, and the foundation upon which it all rests (not to mention the unfathomable and unreasonable stories, fables, allegories scattered about). When this doubt would begin to take hold of my thoughts, I dug in and studied. I probably have $400 worth of books on Christianity and religion written by some of the very best apologists. While my studies and help from bible tutors kept me in the fold, so to speak, my skepticism only made me feel inadequate and cursed.
Once these things failed to meet reason, and I finally admitted this to myself, denying their accuracy and supposed source did not scare me. In other words, I don’t fear damnation because of my unbelief.
This is saying a lot considering I grew up a moderate, but believing Christian, and since I have been married, I have been an active member. As a Southerner it is a practical qualification to be religious and a Christian. My wife is a devout Christian and she is the one who I have worried over and tried to please the most. It is important to her that her family belongs to Christendom, and especially that her kids are brought up knowing and worshipping God. Nonetheless, I came clean to her about my change of mind (I use mind instead of heart deliberately here) at about 6:30 AM two mornings ago.
I promised her that nothing in our family would change. I will still allow for her and the children to have the life they understand and are accustomed to. I will even remain a part of that until the kids are old enough to ask me my thoughts. I, however, can no longer live a dual life — pretending to believe but not really believing. It made me a miserable and tortured person.
I have no ambitions or intentions to lead anyone a way from their faith. I won’t harm anyone’s faith if I can help it.
So what does this make me?
Well, I can certainly say that I am not an atheist. I find that philosophy more arrogant, and which requires more faith than all the other religions combined. I am not an agnostic either. To me, that philosophy is lazy and too middle of the road for my liking. Therefore, I state confidently that I am a Deist — a monotheistic deist.
“My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.”
I’m not an atheist, and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations.”
I believe in God. I believe in His majesty, His magnificence, His munificence, and His existence through the revelation of His creation. I reckon I believe these things much in the same way the ancient Jews did before they set out to interpret and create Him in their image; before the Christians took these Jewish teachings and customs and from which constructed Christianity; before the Arabs took a mixture of both and constructed Islam; and before Joseph Smith learned of this and began his own revealed gospel movement in America.
The fact is each revealed religion is questionable, equally debatable, and totally unverifiable. Moreover, all make mutually exclusive claims. According to someone, everyone is going to Hell. In other words, according someone, everyone else is wrong.
I’m satisfied to say, I no longer have to worry with that fight. I’m sad to say that I have lost something that has been with me as long as I can remember. But I’m honest enough to say; this is my decision from an inner-battle I’ve been fighting for years. One in which has been finally brought to its conclusion. I’m confident that I won.