Out From Under the Umbrella

playing in the rain

Not Gifted for Evangelism

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The Tour Guide and I have been communicating since about February of last year. He asked me if I had faith and I told him, of course I did. He asked me what I believed and I began to share Christ with him. The Tour Guide was very receptive and we began having lively debates about evolution, the inerrancy of the Bible and whether or not life could be lived by the commands and principals in scripture.

I contended that God made the world in six literal days, that the Bible was inerrant cover to cover. It was God’s word, moreover it was God’s Truth. It was reliable and trustworthy in all of it’s sayings. Life could, indeed, be lived by it. Jesus was the Son of God, born of a virgin, died on a cross for all of our sins, then rose again on the third day just as the scripture said. Devotion to the commands of God is born out of love for Him because of all He’s given to us.

The Tour Guide had lots of questions, naturally. One day as we were debating he asked me how God created man. “Did he create him just as we are now? Did he create him as something else and we’ve evolved into what we are now?” These were not sarcastic, indignant questions. They were honest and genuine. He wanted to know how this all worked. We went on to debate the virgin birth. He just couldn’t conceive of it. “Why is it wrong to commit adultery, but God impregnated another man’s fiance?” I’d never thought of it that way. Continuing the discussion about Jesus, he said he wanted to believe but just had too many questions. He said, “I believe Jesus was a real man, and that he was a prophet, but I don’t know about all those miracles and about the resurrection. If someone could knock on my door, right now, and offer me some kind of proof, but they can’t. Other than the Bible, are there any other sources for it?” Certainly there were and I assured him I’d research it and get back to him.

I went away from that conversation thinking, “I’ve got this in the bag. Sure there are outside sources that testify of Jesus.” I pointed the Tour Guide to the Answers in Genesis website, which he thought was a joke. I was insulted! I thought I’d dig further and easily be able to find plausible evidence of the creation story exactly as it’s written in Genesis. I went on a mission.

The first thing I did was google outside sources for the life of Jesus. What I found was scant, but sources nonetheless. All these other websites came up in the search engine, too, refuting those sources. There were some references to Jesus that were historically accurate, but questions as to the authenticity of the most important ones. That was alarming, but I pressed on. The more I pressed the more I found that didn’t support evidence of the life of Jesus. Certainly there were some historians who recorded, in passing, the name of Jesus or someone “called the Christ”, but nothing substantial. Forgeries and interpolations mar their authenticity.

And what about evolution? When I googled evidence for creationism, sites about evolution filled the search engine. Deciding that if I was going to speak intelligently with the Tour Guide about evolution and refute it properly I needed to know more about it. I read the scientific definition of the theory of evolution. I had always argued that evolution was just a “theory”. Note to self: Don’t argue about things of which thou doest not knowest. I began to learn about the theory of evolution as fact and the theory of the mechanism of evolution. I began to learn about fossil layers and “missing links”. Shot my creationism clean out of the water. Evolution suddenly made so much sense.

I kept all of this to myself for a while. I was having an emotional tug-o-war over what I believed and what I was learning. Very serious doubt crept in and before long I was an emotional wreck. My worldview suddenly didn’t line up with reality. This caused panic attacks, sleeplessness, fear, anxiety and an inability to concentrate on anything. My mind was so preoccupied with fear over my doubts. Finally I confided in the Tour Guide on Thanksgiving weekend that I had these doubts. I needed someone to tell and none of my evangelical friends would understand. They’d throw Ken Ham books and Bible verses at me and tell me I needed to just trust and believe like a good little sheep.

I was paralyzed. Too afraid to move forward, unable to go back. I found a few online friends in DagoodS, Zoe, HeIsSailing and Like A Child. Suddenly I realized I wasn’t the only one having these kinds of doubts, nor the only one having this strong emotional reaction to it. I decided I couldn’t stay that way. I had to know the truth.

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11 thoughts on “Not Gifted for Evangelism

  1. And this, as plenty of others have pointed out before me, is the refutation of the idea that atheism is a negative worldview, that it's built around rejecting things. Maybe it is that way for some, but for many of us atheism is just an outgrowth of what we consider an absolutely vital question: "Is it true?"

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  2. I think so many doubts begin with valiant efforts to affirm the faith, the certainty that your religion is true, of course, but that you need to learn more about it so that you can bring doubters in. Once you do some research and learn about varying viewpoints, it's easy to see why it's faith, not fact, and suddenly you're the one needing the proof. What a crazy process! I, like you, am so glad to not be alone in it.

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  3. Not previously a Christian but a god believer once too. And your search took you along the same lines as mine… I had to know what was TRUE. My intellectual honesty required it, no matter how much the results distressed me.

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  4. @Michael Mock,"for many of us atheism is just an outgrowth of what we consider an absolutely vital question: "Is it true?"Exactly! I'm well aware that no one can be %100 certain, but I hardly see the point of believing just for the sake of believing in something. Just as I see it as a foolish prospect to deny it's truth if it can be proven to some degree of certainty. ==================================================@Tricia,There are quite a few of my friends who will think that I'm angry with God. I'm not angry with God. If I'm angry with anyone, and I'm not, it would be with the pastors and teachers I've sat under who know these things and weren't honest about them to begin with. =================================================@Reason,Thanks for commenting and welcome! It is very distressing, but once the door of doubt is opened I don't quite know how anyone shuts it without at least peaking trough the crack.

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  5. Having been a pastor and a christian counselor, I can honestly say that most of us really believed what we preached and taught. We weren't trying to deliberately mislead or hide the truth. Obviously, we were the king cheerleader when it came to propping up the agreed-upon beliefs and casting doubt and criticism on "error." But all Christians do that. We just did it for a job, and people were thankful we did. I'm enjoying this drama/novel, and am looking forward to more chapters. I also have a secret desire to meet you someday. Maybe at a book signing?

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  6. EI,I'd like to think that the pastors and teachers I've had really believed what they were saying and weren't deliberately misleading. I'd be pretty devastated to find out otherwise.Yikes! A book signing?!? Maybe yours…

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  7. ok, promise that if either one of us has a book signing, we will invite the other. k?

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  8. Not previously a Christian but a god believer once too. And your search took you along the same lines as mine… I had to know what was TRUE. My intellectual honesty required it, no matter how much the results distressed me.

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  9. Wow. Research. The bane and scourge of ignorance, irrationality, and unfounded faith of all kinds. I see why you call him a “tour guide”.

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