I careered through my early 20s thinking about music and not much else. But as I got to my mid to late 20s, I started to think further about the wider questions of life. I started to read books on philosophy, atheism and the major world religions. I guess that I’ve been more swayed towards the atheist view, but I’ve tried to really engage with religious believers. I try to understand as best I can why people think differently from me. I listen to Mark Driscoll podcasts on a weekly basis.
My brother-in-law is an evangelical Christian. We are good friends and have many healthy discussions about faith. I listen to sermons from his church, the King’s Arms, Bedford, via podcast. I like to think that I am their honorary atheist member; I have listened to every sermon for the past four years. If a functional atheist went along to their church ? which is very charismatic in style ? they might not understand it, but it doesn’t weird me out. I do believe that the people there are genuine but I don’t consider what they believe to be real.
I haven’t come across any specific argument for Christianity that has convinced me. The evidence for God that I read always looks like it is reasoning after the facts. It’s like you are starting with the conclusion that God exists, and then all the evidence is seen in the light of that, rather than the other way around. Also, without meaning to sound facetious, why would God reveal himself though books and writing? If God is so important to the eternal fate of my soul, then I want something more solidly objective that can’t be mistaken.
It looks to me as if there is no ultimate purpose for our existence in the universe. I operate as if there is meaning to life…otherwise there would be no point in getting out of bed in the morning. I can see where the argument that God must exist, or human life would be meaningless, comes from ? but this isn’t evidence for God.
I don't find the idea of someone else being tortured for the things I have supposedly done a very nice concept
Learning about the early Church and reading historical documents make it particularly hard for me to believe in the claims of Christianity. Reading right through from Genesis to Revelation, I find that the Bible is quite contradictory. The idea of inheriting sin, and that being passed from generation to generation also seems morally wrong to me.
I take the figure of Judas as an example of a contradiction that I see in the Bible. I find it hard to see him as a bad guy. If the message and the actions are all preordained, then Judas is simply facilitating part of the wider plan, which would mean he ? by my logic ? is doing a good thing. Yet most Christians would see him as the bad guy who betrayed Jesus. It’s the small contradictions that, piece by piece, make the biblical story hard to believe.
The largest contradiction is how ? if Jesus and God are one ? Jesus was a sacrifice? It would seem more like Jesus was sacrificing himself to himself. I understand the emotional element of the story, but when you consider the traditional Christian concept of the Trinity, this idea really falls apart for me.
I don’t think I want to have a faith; maybe I would if there was some sort of afterlife. Just because I might want some amazing things to be true, doesn’t make them true. The central message of Christianity is not very pleasant to me; I don’t find the idea of someone else being tortured for me, for the things I have supposedly done, a very nice concept.
David Beebee is a music teacher and has been a guest on Unbelievable? on Premier Christian Radio.