Upon coming to the conclusion that I could no longer call myself a Christian, perhaps the most important question I asked myself was, “What now?” As a Christian, I had a very clear purpose in life. The Great Commandment (Matthew 22) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28) were the guiding forces in my life (in theory, if not always in action). As an atheist, I have no such mandate to change the world. But inaction isn’t in my nature. Being idle isn’t an option.
Archive for Blogs
Below are some “case studies” in the reactions of the students at the Christian college I attend after my “coming out” as an atheist. Some of the reactions have been amusing, some have been frustrating. Some have encouraged me to hope that while I think Christians have a flawed metaphysic, they are genuine. Others have caused me to doubt the sincerity of faith.
Allow me to set the stage: It was only a couple of weeks before move-in day that I decided that I didn’t want to take the route of “faking faith” for an entire year. As a tech-generation college student, the quickest, easiest, and least personal way of disseminating the information about my de-conversion was naturally Facebook. And so in the true form of a impulsive youth, I published my conclusions about Christianity in the form of a series of Facebook notes.
The response was, shall we say, overwhelming. Literally nearly two hundred “comments” on the posts themselves, but that was the tip of the ice berg. The weeks before school were filled with e-mails and phone calls from concerned friends. I even received a few “praying for you” cards. For the most part, the messages were well intentioned. When I arrived at school, e-mails and phone calls gave way to personal conversations. Dozens of people approached me, making awkward conversation, only to finally ask the question: “So why
are you mad at Jesus?” And dozens of times I patiently explained my philosophical convictions that led me away from theism.For the most part, life at my evangelical college remained quite normal. Classes and work dominated most of my time. By nature I tend to know a lot of people, but am close to very few. So my relationships predominantly stayed the same.
There were; however, some notable, and often surprisingly humorous, reactions from my fellow students.
In his Poetics, Aristotle says that any good story should have a proper beginning, middle and end. In that tradition, I feel the need to quickly catch up to speed any casual reader. Here is my beginning, the story of my conversion, de-conversion, and life as an atheist among evangelicals.
I was not raised a Christian. Nor was I raised in any other religion. Likewise, I was not raised an atheist. My parents are, for lack of a better word, non-theists. They are religiously apathetic. While they never encouraged any belief in God, nor did they seem to have made any decision against an idea of God. And so until late into my elementary school years, I had no conception of a transcendent God, positive or negative.