Once again I’ve been inspired by a post at Like A Child’s blog. She and I seem to have quite a bit in common in our respective quests. But then again I think all of us who travel this journey have these things in common.
An excerpt from her blog:
Questions such as these has enveloped Christianity in a mist of confusion for me. The central theme of Christianity — the resurrection — has lost its essence, and I cannot genuinely call myself an orthodox Christian. Now, when I read this excerpt from the Biologos site, I feel like another bombshell has been dropped upon me:
“Now let’s turn to category (2), the case of a person who has been exposed to Christianity but doesn’t believe it because they claim not to have enough evidence. I think there are several different possible things that might be going on here:
First of all, just because they claim to be seeking the truth doesn’t mean they really are:
(A) They might actually have enough evidence to believe in God, but dishonestly refuse to admit it to themselves, because they don’t want it to be true. In this case, they are not actually sincere, and have rejected God not because of inadequacy of the evidence, but because of stubborn rebellion. In this case, there is no reason to think that they would accept God even if they did have more evidence. So it is not God’s fault that they do not believe. It should be pointed out that many of the people who saw Christ multiply the loaves, heal people, raise the dead etc. nevertheless refused to believe. It is naive to think that if everyone saw miracles, everyone would believe. Rather the people who don’t want to believe become more firm in their rejection of God.
(B) Or, although they don’t have enough evidence to believe, they choose not to investigate to see whether it is true or not. In this case, it is their own fault that they don’t have enough evidence. If people claim to base their decisions on evidence and reason, it is hypocritical if they reject Christianity without carefully considering whether there is sufficient evidence for Christ’s Resurrection and other miracles to show that Christianity is true. In particular, it is utterly irrational to insist on seeing a miracle personally in order to believe if there is lots of evidence that other people have seen miracles. People don’t refuse to believe in scientific results unless they personally witness the experiments, so long as multiple reliable people say they have done the experiments, that is enough. Why should religion be different?
I never assume that anybody is intellectually dishonest until I have some specific reason to think they are dishonest. But I’ve talked to enough atheists to know that most of them do fall into categories (A) or (B), at least to some extent. However, I’m sure that there do exist cases in which atheists are sincere. In this case…”
Wow, so easily cast into two groups. A or B. Either I’m not sincere, or I’m seriously misguided. There’s enough evidence, I just don’t want to see it for my own reasons, or I haven’t looked hard enough for it.
Having travelled in the same evangelical circles and knowing what has been said time and time again I tend to avoid evangelical blogs. I feel like a big enough failure without them telling me so. How much searching is enough? How much study is enough? According to them, unless you come to the same conclusions they have, there is never enough. If you don’t come to the absolute conclusion that there is a God, that He has a son named Jesus, and that He, too, is God you haven’t done it right. It’s exhausting.
I think it’s exhausting for evangelicals, too. The only difference is, maybe, just maybe they’ve come to the conclusions that Christianity is the end all, be all because they haven’t studied enough or searched enough. Maybe they’re in denial of what’s staring them in the face. Maybe they are afraid of the consequences if they happen to be wrong. Because you know there’s Hell to pay if they are.
Maybe they are being intellectually dishonest with themselves in rejecting evidence because it doesn’t fit with their beliefs. Out of hand they dismiss anything that is remotely different from their sacredly held beliefs. They have one book that isn’t really even one book, but a menagerie of books all smashed together and forced to fit. One book. Maybe they are being lazy because all sorts of evidence confronts them to the contrary of that one book, but they don’t take the time to investigate it.
I can honestly say that the reason I was so certain of my beliefs when I was an evangelical, inerrant Word of God, Bible believing, conservative, washed in the blood, died in the wool believer is because I hadn’t studied enough. I never had studied anything but the scriptures because I believed what I had been told. They were sacred and I didn’t need anything else. When I finally did take a look outside of that tiny world I realized that it wasn’t all literally true, and that, in fact, it’s historicity is highly questionable.
The only thing I’m certain of with regards to Christianity is that I’m uncertain. And because I’m uncertain I’m labelled as lazy or misguided or insincere. I’m with LAC, reading this kind of thing is unhelpful. Being told this kind of thing is beyond unhelpful. It is arrogant and pompous and prideful to think you have all the answers. I thought that was one of the seven deadly sins, looking at others with haughty eyes.