Dear Friend and/or Family Member

If you are here, then you probably already either through me directly or someone else, that I am no longer a believing christian.

Let me tell you about my journey.  And this is not to defend my position, but to shed some light and explain where I have traveled emotionally.

In the Summer of 2011, I came across a two scriptures Matthew 17:10- 13 & John 1:19-23 that appeared to me in contradiction.  In Matthew Jesus makes the assertion that the Prophecy of the Spirit of Elijah returning has been fulfilled and that the Elijah has returned.  It says to the disciples ‘But I tell you, Elijah has already come…Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.’  However in John, when the Jewish Leaders approached John the Baptist if he was the Elijah, not only did he deny he was the spirit of Elijah. But he furthermore denied if he was a prophet.

So in coming to this bible difficulty, I could not reconcile the scriptural difficulty in my own mind, so I decided to create a blog and blog about it.  Now even though I did not find an answer in blogging about it.  It did calm my nerves and skepticism.

However I cam across another bible difficulty that reflected more of an absurdity.

It was 2 Samuel 21:1-10.  It was a story of King David and how his country was in a famine.   So in the context of the story King David goes to God about a famine in the land.  God says it is because of King Saul he has famine.  So David makes a deal that seven of Saul’s grandsons shall be sacrificed before the LORD to atone for the famine.   Not only did God and David choose the seven descendants of Saul, but King David is married to one of Saul’s daughters.  So he isn’t just allowing any random stranger to be killed.  He is allowing his own family to be slaughtered.  This story was beyond my comprehension, on why would God allow such a thing to innocents.

Now this began to open up a whole new world of questions and doubts that I felt were never truly answered, so I scratched that skepticism bug and this is what I found.

  • That the Gospels are not considered eyewitness accounts.
  • That there are several major gaps in the first couple chapters in Genesis and Creation.
  • The Contradictory Genealogy of Jesus in Matthew vs. Luke.

And this is too just name a few.  There are several websites documenting up to 1001 Bible Contradictions.  Now I know some people are saying, there is perfectly rational explanations for these bible difficulties.  And there are some good and sufficient explanations for some of them, but not all.

Little did I know, that others were also reading my articles, and there were others who shared my same skepticism.  But for them, it wasn’t just skepticism, it was atheism.

After reading and evaluating more of the bible, I came to the point, that I could no longer consider the bible as God’s Inerrant Authority on earth.  And with losing my inerrant guide-book, I also lost my belief in an inerrant bible.  I could no longer justify my faith by the bible, for it was too flawed and inconsistent for me to take serious.  And in giving up biblical authority, I also had to give up my Christianity.

In all of this, I do apologize beforehand if I have hurt you. And I know this changes everything.  But I felt it was truly time to evaluate my faith, without restriction, without hesitation and without reservation, and just follow the evidence where ever it may led.  And it has led me away from the Christian bible.  If you too would like to evaluate your Christianity, I am here if you have questions.

Sincerely,

Marcus

30 Responses to Dear Friend and/or Family Member

  1. wbmoore says:

    wow. I started from a place of no faith, moved to faith in God but no faith in the BIble, to faith in God and in the Bible. You seem to have gone the other way.

    I have yet to find any so called contradiction in the BIble can be reconciled. But it comes down to a matter of faith – how big is your God? If your god is not all powerful and loving and soveriegn and righteous and holy and just, then you will not be able to find an answer to any apparent contradiction, but if your god is – then its not hard to find solutions.

      • wbmoore says:

        I’ve seen many lists of supposed contradictions. But when I review them, one by one, I find the contradictions are easily addressed and there are actually no contradictions.In fact, I addressed a couple yesterday from one of your posts.

    • Kate says:

      How big is a God who inspires a questionable book? How big is a God that doesn’t seem to have any clue about scientific discoveries beyond the time that the various books were written? The bible is very obviously only inspired by minds of men. There is nothing revolutionary about anything in the Bible, let alone Jesus who merely follows a mythical hero archetype of other figures before his time.

      • Jesus who merely follows a mythical hero archetype of other figures before his time.

        That’s very interesting. What led you to that conclusion?

      • Kate says:

        Um, research? Look up the mythical hero archetype pertaining to Jesus and you’ll see. The Jesus narrative is not unique.

      • Um, research? Look up the mythical hero archetype pertaining to Jesus and you’ll see. The Jesus narrative is not unique.

        I’m not entirely sure what mythical hero archetypes you have in mind—could you give an example? Are there any resources that you particularly recommend?

        (I hope you don’t mind me asking. Many people who claim that Jesus is merely another figure in a tradition of mythical hero archetypes haven’t bothered to look at the original texts, but instead repeat misleading slogans that they’ve heard from websites run by sceptics.)

      • M. Rodriguez says:

        From my memory, the only two that come to mind is Mithra and Osris. However I think there might be more.

        Sorry I haven’t chimed in more on this dialogue, but I’ve been very busy at work, So I can’t really dig too much into things.

      • Kate says:

        I’d like to know first if you are the type to dismiss all skeptics, even the ones who are trained academic scholars in biblical history. I obviously won’t find any evangelical Christians admitting to this truth, and if you’re the type with such a strong confirmation bias that you only consider Christian arguments, then it’s not worth it for me to engage you on this topic.

      • M. Rodriguez:

        From my memory, the only two that come to mind is Mithra and Osris. However I think there might be more.

        Out of curiosity, what connections and similarities would you say exist between the story of Jesus and the stories of Mithra and Osiris?

        Kate:

        I’d like to know first if you are the type to dismiss all skeptics, even the ones who are trained academic scholars in biblical history.

        Of course not! I take it you wouldn’t dismiss (say) Christian scholars out of hand, either, right?

        Now, let’s discuss some of these mythical hero archetypes and look at the evidence.

      • M. Rodriguez says:

        In all honesty, I am not very knowledgeable on the topic other gods similar to the christian god-Jesus.

      • Kate says:

        I don’t feel much pull toward trying to convince you that there were others before the time of Jesus who fit the archetype (like Osiris and Mithra as has been stated). I figure if you actually wanted to know, you’d do the research yourself. It’s not really a topic for debate. It’s a topic for doing your own research, given you care enough to do the research. I have no incentive for giving you information or for changing your mind about anything.

      • Kate says:

        Sorry if that sounds like I’m being evasive. I’m really just not interested in the conversation/debate.

  2. Bohemian Pig says:

    Hey…in the same spot. Can so identify with you, biblereader. very hard for me as an active musician/songwriter/worship leader for 25 years….probably going to request a sabbatical to “search”…so that each week doesn’t produce the kind of anxiety i feel in being “dishonest”. I come from a “creedal” tradition in which we recite weekly the Nicene Creed…can’t do. If I’m to end up with faith in “God”, I have come to the place that I cannot accept the “specificity” of Christianity, or of any other “revealed” religion anymore. I believe it’s right to take a critical look at the “holy book”, and I ultimately believe now, that the “God” of the “universe” (galaxies..dimensions…etc etc) is NOT concerned with the nitty gritty details, and can see straight into my being, is the CORE of my being, and knows every question, and the inside and outside of my “heart”!! (That’s my “defense” to the people I have begun to explore speaking about this to) I have found that a lot of people’s “faith” is entrenched with their “personality”. If they are a “rules based” person, you will not get ANYWHERE in speaking with them, because they are “right” and you will always be the one who “strayed”. (just had one of these conversations last night)….ug…could go on here…I wish you the best in everything you do…I hope that the love you share between yourself and your wife will sustain you through the process of change you are facing…I hope that the losses you face are the stepping stones and opening of doors to wonderful gains in your life and the lives of those you love. Best to you this day…sorry for the long post!!!
    ps and btw…I am alternately an atheist/deist/agnostic/ in my “belief” but what I have come to really and completely accept and appreciate is this….drum roll….I am a HUMAN….yay!!!!!!)

  3. plasticpatrick says:

    Sorry to read about your loss in faith because of what you see as contradictions in the Bible. You’ll note that the Bible never claims to be inerrant. Only God is inerrant and it points to God just like John the Baptist pointed to Jesus but wasn’t perfect. The Bible says that all scripture is “God breathed” which has a fairly wide berth of interpretation. I think that the inerrancy of scripture is not a particularly productive doctrine. It puts you in a bad position if you can never back down on something because you feel you have “absolute truth”. Some things in the Bible are clearly metaphor and I believe some of what is in the Bible may have been written that way to explain things to the people of the day in a way that would make sense to them.

    On the issue of loss of faith generally. I have been exploring my own faith in a similar way but I can’t get over the fact that creation screams out to me “What a brilliant designer!” as well as the way I know how many jams God has got me out of in the past and my personal relationship with him is something that I could never be convinced it is in my imagination. Maybe this is why God allows hard times in our lives – to show how real he is to us and to let us know he can be trusted with our lives. I hope you are able to come back at some stage.

    Even if you don’t feel it or believe it right now please remember Jesus loves you and he wants what is best for you.

  4. Don Hartness says:

    As I mentioned in my response to your comment on my blog, there is so much I wish to address on this subject. God-willing, I will. For now, I want to leave a few words to you as a seeker in search of the truth.

    First, I applaud your efforts and encourage you to continue in what you are doing. Far too many Christians swallow whatever they are fed without seriously investigating what they claim to believe. Some of these are because they don’t have the faculties to explore the subject, others out of laziness, still others out of agenda. I think the vast majority of Christians don’t truly know what they believe in. Actions, though, always reveal one’s truth belief, and for many, they don’t truly believe what they profess, demonstrating instead that their belief is an ideal, not Christianity.

    If one approaches the claims of Christianity from the stand-point of reason, one will never have faith. Although many apologists have made some compelling arguments, none of them provide the smoking gun, just as I have never seen an atheistic argument that destroys Christianity once and for all. If Hume, who wielded the scalpel of skepticism so effectively as to forever wound philosophy, is correctly understood, nothing in human existence can be proven with reason. The only way to function in life is to live by faith in something, anything (your choice), for we cannot know anything with certainty. Apply this scalpel in your hand to anything and everything you see, and you will find yourself hard pressed not to become an absolute nihilist.

    When I investigated the claims of Christianity many years ago, I did so with a central argument that was unassailable: I believed in the divinity of Christ and nothing else. Not in the Bible, not in the church, not in reason, or the scientific method, not in this or that person’s argument or opinion on the matter, and not even in my own understanding on the matter (and all this before I was even aware of certain Scripture quotes, such as Pr 3:5-6). I resolved to put this one point on the sideline as above reproach, and then investigate the matter fully, with the hypothesis that the summation of the facts should convincingly point that the divinity of Christ was, indeed, true, even if I couldn’t understand every fact presented on either side of the argument.

    I never found all the answers and I never will. I can’t explain all the contradictions in Scripture; I can speculate with reasonable arguments (i.e., like the apologists) but I will never know for certain, and I don’t believe anybody ever will. I can’t explain all the contradictions between professed belief and behavior in the church, although I have stronger speculations on the causes than I do on Biblical accuracy. I can’t explain the role of suffering fully, although there are strong arguments for the role of suffering and its benefits (see eastern religion and philosophy). There are other arguments that atheists have missed that I can’t explain as well. And, yet, I still believe, and that not blindly, for my mind is settled.

    How? If there was a way I could show you the entire path beforehand, I would. I would do this for anybody, and there are times when I wished, with a will that could split atoms, that I could. But I can’t, and I understand the reason why. You have to walk it for yourself. If you do, you’ll get all the proof you need, and you’ll also understand why it is set up that way.

    The path of reason seems wise, but it has inherent flaws, mostly centered within ourselves. If truth is what you seek, then may I suggest taking the same path I did: throw out everything (of which it seems you already have) except for this one simple statement: Christ was the son of God. Set that aside (including any understanding that you may have of that statement) and then look at the evidence freshly. Do this, and I assure you, you will find what you are seeking.

    I hope that I have been helpful to you. Feel free to contact me in the future. Best wishes on the road ahead.

    • M. Rodriguez says:

      hello Don,

      I meant to respond to this comment earlier, but I have been too busy to respond to all comments.

      As for accepting and starting with simple statement: Christ was the son of God. I’ve already started from that perspective. I was a pretty fundamental christian, just a few months, and actually more fundamental than most I have met. So for me the bible, christ, and god, was my basis for reasoning and logic. In fact the eytmology for the word is Logos…or some say Logic. So for me it all began with the word. So it was not always about proving atheism, but in finding a balance in reasonable faith. And searching and affirming the belief I had already had.

      So far me, I have studied christianity and the bible enough to firmly and confidently say that is all man-made and that this God of the bible is non-existence. Now I don’t know if the god of the tree or nature, or some other type of God exist. (Nor do I have a desire to seek and answer that question.) But as for any bible based or abrahamic religion, it is based on a lie.

      And please forgive me, if my boldness and confidence comes off as offensive or arrogant. But it is absolutely imperative that I be able to answer this question with certainty, boldness and confidence, because if I was to ever be wrong, I know the ill-fate of an unbeliever.

      So in that I must be absolutely certain that I studied this topic to degree of certainty. And that I feel I have done to say confidently that the Christian god does not exist.

      • Don Hartness says:

        No worries, I’ve been busy myself. When I wrote this, I was still following the assumption that you were still openly challenging faith and were still undecided about where your beliefs and views stood on the matter. I realized later, after reading a few more of your posts, that this was not the case (hence the comment about your bio). I know you’re decided on this, but I wanted to point out a few observations on your comment.

        I think we both agree that fundamental Christianity has little to do with logic and reason. Fundamental Christians are, using Plato’s analogy of the cave, the prisoners chained to the floor, interpreting the shadows on the wall. They are told what to think, what to do, and are given a very narrow well to draw from. I applaud you, and everyone else, that breaks away from that prison. In fact, I think any atheist or agnostic is closer to belief than any fundamentalist Christian, for at least they are exercising their mind.

        Catch the last sentence there? Let me put this another way. If the extent of your understanding and experience with Christianity was fundamentalist in nature, then let me say with equal boldness and confidence that you were never a Christian, at least in any sense that the Gospels talk about.

        You’re not the only one. Without judging any one person, I would say 99 out of 100 are in that boat. In fact, I think there are very few real Christians left. The key to my assertion is in what you say. “Study” is the word most often used among the religious crowd (my next post will illustrate, stay tuned next weekend). An outside observer watching Christianity today would think the whole point of the Christian message and faith is to say the right words (“I accept Jesus Christ as my savior”, etc.), get doused with some “holy” water, tell everybody about how good you now feel, and then spend the rest of your life attending church services, church functions, and endlessly studying a 2000 page book. If this is Christianity, then you have to wonder as to the sorry state of the first apostles and disciples, since they didn’t have a New Testament to study (gasp!).

        “Study” is not “journey”, just as reading a bibliography is not knowing the person, or reading a textbook is not the same as grasping the subject enough to perform it. It’s a path to be followed, with its own scenery, experiences, and events. The Bible? A cartographer’s tool to help identify some of the signposts along the way; nothing more.

        Suffice it to say, I can’t illustrate the difference in one comment. Hence, why I blog, as my blog is dedicated to illustrating that difference (and I hope you continue to follow along). For now, let me leave you with a thought to ponder.

        Logic is not faith; never has been, never will be. Both have their validity, both have their appropriate uses. Sometimes, they will be in antagonism to each other (and that is where the tough choices come in). The bible, Christ, and God are not the foundation for logic, as logic is a human faculty, useful for this life, but woefully inadequate for the path of spirituality (Buddahism is probably the best at illustrating the difference).

        To equate Logos with logic is committing an etymological fallacy:

        http://www.fallacyfiles.org/etymolog.html

  5. Samuel says:

    I find it quite striking that honest people of equal intelligence can reach a variety of conclusions about these subjects. I wonder too about Holy Spirit discernment and how we submit to God and let Him be true and corrective. And I wonder about the influence of the father of lies, the believers’ spiritual enemy. Our minds aren’t enough it seems.

  6. Congratulations on following the evidence where it leads. I think Socrates coined the phrase.

  7. I wonder if you have read the (somewhat dated) little book by Stephen T. Davis. He is evangelical in orientation but denies the theory of inerrancy. http://www.amazon.com/Debate-About-Bible-Inerrancy-Infallibility/dp/0664241190
    I share Davis’ concern that the theory of inerrancy has often been used in a divisive way to check up on who is in the house of faith and who is out, which has caused needless confusion.

    • M. Rodriguez says:

      I have heard, of him and his book, but have not read. I know many people are starting to be against inerrrancy. It is starting to become unsustainable.

  8. Hi M.!

    After reading and evaluating more of the bible, I came to the point, that I could no longer consider the bible as God’s Inerrant Authority on earth. And with losing my inerrant guide-book, I also lost my belief in an inerrant bible. I could no longer justify my faith by the bible, for it was too flawed and inconsistent for me to take serious.

    Out of curiosity, since the Bible is a collection of books, do you think an error in one book in the collection would necessarily render every other book in the collection erroneous?

    And in giving up biblical authority, I also had to give up my Christianity.

    What led you to the conclusion that Christianity entails biblical authority and/or biblical inerrancy?

    I’m a scriptural inerrantist who tentatively takes the texts contained in the Bible as Scripture (or at least a subset of Scripture). There are, however, solid evangelical Christians who think biblical inerrancy is false and for whom I have great respect—Glenn Peoples, for example.

    • M. Rodriguez says:

      sorry it took so long to respond to your comment been busy at work.

      Well I never took this topic lightly so I alot of time studying and reading the different arguments and perspectives of inerrancy and not just inerrancy but also infalliablity and the general doctrine of scripture. And what does it mean to say the bible is inspired?

      So I have documented this study in a post titled a complete study of inspiration, in-errancy and infallibility.

      http://bittersweetend.wordpress.com/a-study-on-biblical-inerrancy-infallibility-and-inspiration/

      Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think

      As pertaining directly to your question these are the two post I would recommend.

      Why the Bible must be Inerrant By (Atheist) Nathan Owens
      Is Inerrancy Biblical? Does Inspiration mean inerrancy?

      Both are post on the link and blog.

  9. Congratulations! Once you decide to live your life based on reason, living your life based on faith becomes impossible. Don’t think yourself back into the rabbit hole…it won’t work. I’m in the same situation as you, only I’ve come out to almost everyone I know…and I am gonna have to find me some new friends! “The fields that are white unto harvest”…where did they go now that I’m not out to witness to them?

  10. Kate says:

    I can tell that this post is only a small sliver of your journey, and it goes beyond even just the contradictions. It still frustrates me when Christians are “sorry” and dismissive of our very honest, thoughtful journeys, but it’s not surprising. Well done. It takes a lot of courage to make it out. Little courage to get sucked in.

    • M. Rodriguez says:

      yes it is, I am actually considering taking this page down, because I feel it has already served its purpose

      • Don Hartness says:

        I would disagree with that sentiment, only because we can never fully evaluate what purpose anything we start might serve. If that sentiment is due to time being sucked out of your life, maybe readjusting your comment settings and distancing yourself some from the administration side might be in order? Just a thought.

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