How Changing My Views Affected My Relationships

I’ve decided to answer a personal question in this week’s Readers’ Mailbag, about how my relationships with others changed as I went from being a very conservative evangelical Christian to becoming an agnostic/atheist.

 

QUESTION

Would you be willing to elaborate on how your changing views affected your relationships with friends and family and how people reacted to your changing perspective? Thanks so much!

 

RESPONSE

As it turns out, in my case, the biggest “problem” for my relationships with family and friends was not so ...

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Was There a “Moment” When I Left the Faith?

I sometimes get asked if there was a moment when I realized I simply did not believe in the Christian God and subscribe to the Christian faith any more.   What I have been trying to explain is that for me it was a long drawn out process.  It was not a matter of my being a fundamentalist, then finding a contradiction in the Bible and throwing up my hands in despair and saying “Oh no!  There *is* no God!!”

It didn’t ...

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Leaving the Faith

By the early to mid-1990s I had come to think that whatever I had held dear and cherished on the basis of my belief in the Christian God, could still be held dear and cherished without that belief.   Do I stand in awe before the unfathomable vastness and incredible majesty of the universe?  Do I welcome and feel heartfelt gratitude for moments of grace?  Do I value the love of family and the companionship of friends?  Do I appreciate the ...

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Growing into Unbelief

As I continued to go to church in the late 1980s and early 1990s, I found that I simply believed less and less of the Christian tradition in anything like a literal sense.

Was God the creator?  Well, maybe in some kind of ultimate sense, but not literally.   The universe was billions of years old, it came into being at the Big Bang, it has been expanding ever since, and the reaches of space – with its unfathomable numbers of galaxies ...

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Why I Was Afraid to Become an Agnostic

I started feeling the tug toward agnosticism sometime during my PhD program.  I remember clearly a particular moment, and it was, somewhat ironically, while I was serving as the pastor of the Princeton Baptist Church.

Even though I was incredibly busy at the time (I was taking a full load of graduate seminars, preparing to take my PhD exams, serving as a Teaching Assistant for a class taught by Bruce Metzger, AND serving as the pastor of the church) I enjoyed ...

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On the Cutting Room Floor: Part 4

This first paragraph is repeated from yesterday’s post:   I have now finished with my final edits for my book How Jesus Became God.   In the process of doing these final edits, I have cut out large sections of my Preface and the Introductions of four of my chapters and replaced them with other, hopefully better, sections.    But I really like the old ones as well.  So, since they won’t appear in print, I decided to post them here ...

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On the Cutting Room Floor: Part 3

This first paragraph is repeated from yesterday’s post:   I have now finished with my final edits for my book How Jesus Became God.   In the process of doing these final edits, I have cut out large sections of my Preface and the Introductions of four of my chapters and replaced them with other, hopefully better, sections.    But I really like the old ones as well.  So, since they won’t appear in print, I decided to post them here ...

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On the Cutting Room Floor: Part 2

This first paragraph is repeated from yesterday’s post:   I have now finished with my final edits for my book How Jesus Became God.   In the process of doing these final edits, I have cut out large sections of my Preface and the Introductions of four of my chapters and replaced them with other, hopefully better, sections.    But I really like the old ones as well.  So, since they won’t appear in print, I decided to post them here ...

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On the Cutting Room Floor: Part 1

I have now finished with my final edits for my book How Jesus Became God.   IN the process of doing these final edits, I have cut out large sections of my Preface and the Introductions of four of my chapters and replaced them with other, hopefully better, sections.    But I really like the old ones as well.  So, since they won’t appear in print, I decided to post them here as a record of what almost was.   The ...

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Moving from the Faith

I wrote chapter 7 of How Jesus Became God today, and started with this anecdote that will sound somewhat familiar to those who know my story….

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I first began to have serious doubts about my faith when I was in graduate school. After I had graduated from Moody Bible Institute I had gone off to finish my undergraduate degree at Wheaton College, a strongly evangelical liberal arts college and the alma mater for Billy Graham. For me this was a step ...

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