Two Valid Reasons To Reject Christianty, by A Seminary Student On Summer Break

Last week I found myself in a fairly odd conversation with a nonChristian friend. For good reason, he has been hired to advise preachers how to keep Christians in church. Naturally, this is something we seminarians talk about in class all the time. I say naturally to both illustrate that the seminary is fully aware of the reality that many, many “Christians” are leaving their churches, and also to own up to the interrelated facts that most seminary students are hoping for a professional career in ministry after graduation and that they see that the future isn’t exactly promising.

Church attendance is clearly down in America; that’s just a fact. My problem with this is that my conversations with nonChristians have led me to believe that I think they are rejecting Christianity for invalid reasons. These reasons stem from simple ignorance about the purpose of church attendance all the way to people claiming that they are so educated, so informed, so wise that they can see all the holes in church and Christianity.

As a white American, as a firm believer that Christianity is the only religion that is true, and as a seminary student, I am most concerned with your soul. If you’re reading this blog, chances are that you’re white and not exactly impoverished. Chances are you’re not a Christian. Chances are you used to attend church. And chances are you stopped believing for weak reasons. Spending eternity in hell because you didn’t bother to investigate why The Da Vinci Code is fiction, or because you can’t see how evolution and Genesis aren’t at odds is unconscionable to me.

Bluntly, I am most concerned with heaven and hell. The Bible makes it clear that hell is a reality. Some people are going to end up there. My goal is to ensure that no one is surprised upon their arrival. So what follows is my best attempt to give you as many valid reasons to spend eternity in hell as I have developed over the last two semesters in a Masters of Divinity curriculum. I can only think of two so far. I’m sure I’ll share more as I discover them.

Drum-roll please…

First: You are not a sinner. Hear me clearly. I am not saying that a valid reason to reject Christianity is that you do not believe in the Christian doctrine of “sin.” That would merely be circular reasoning. However, I am saying that once you understand the Christian doctrine of “sin,” if you believe you are not a sinner, then you have no reason to convert. So don’t.

Second: You serve a god that is more powerful than the triune God. Again, hear me clearly. When surveying some Roman Catholic theology, I came across the idea that it seems to be impossible to believe that Jesus of Nazareth concretely rose from the dead after his crucifixion and then not convert to Christianity. Put another way, I recently wrote to a friend, “I am not expecting you to convert, I am asking you to admit that the historical record demonstrates that Christianity began because Jesus of Nazareth actually rose from the dead.” (I wrote this because I do agree with my Catholic brother and do want my friend to convert).

(breath)

All this to express that if I was asked to figure out a way to prove the Catholic theologian’s assessment that 100%-of-people-who-believe-the-resurrection-occurred-are-Christians is wrong, the only idea that I can come up with is the following. If a person believes that Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead, but that the triune God which this event reveals is actually not the most powerful God, then don’t serve the triune God. Again, if you serve a god that is more powerful than the triune God, there is no reason to convert. So don’t.

I left Christianity because of misinformation and misunderstanding. I also left because white suburbanites drive me crazy. These days I’m better informed and white suburbanites still drive me crazy.

If you left because of white suburbanites, it’s time to reconsider. If you left because no one could or would answer your questions, it’s time to reconsider. If you left because you doubt God still exists, it’s time to reconsider. If you left because you doubt the triune God is powerful enough to forgive you, it’s time to reconsider.

Maybe all of this is simply the result of spending a lot of time on Psalms 26 and 27 recently. So be it. But in Psalm 26 we discover God has unfailing love and that God is faithful. The triune God does not break his promise or his character. And Psalm 27 tells us, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”

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9 comments

  1. Aimer Boyz

    LOL! I’m a white suburbanite 🙂
    An ex-Catholic, a converted Jew, and an atheist. Which is to say, we are coming from different ends of the spectrum. I’ve found your posts sincere and interesting but, of course, I don’t agree that there is only one true religion. Please don’t worry about my soul. If God exists, he understands 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pete Deakon

      Hey Aimer,

      I love hearing from you because you, likewise, are sincere and interesting. My “soul concern” 😉 is literal, but I see how I wasn’t clear that I meant to delineate the soul from the material world. Believe me, I’ve tried, but people like us (white suburbanites) whose physical needs are abundantly met only use this fact to reinforce their belief that Christianity isn’t necessary for a good life. So that was an assumption I was bypassing which leads me to the only thing left: the afterlife. There seems to be one. It’s true that white suburbanites will likely never become impoverished enough to resorting to cry out to God, “Why!?” during their lifetime. But if we choose to ignore the afterlife, or pretend knowledge of it is beyond comprehension, then our reasoning gets circular again. In the end, thank you for saying “please”, but I couldn’t turn off my concern if I wanted to. I just have been too continuously surprised by how much I was deluding myself for the last decade and so now I feel like sharing my discoveries in what I perceive is a “fresh” way. Seriously, how many Christians have ever given you valid reasons for rejecting their faith? I like myself more already. 🙂

      I am open to hearing where I’m losing you (pushing away is exactly the opposite my intention) or where I’m being brainwashed. But I promise I’ve been applying my cynicism and skepticism to all the material and it just keeps responding winsomely. Anyhow, there’s no coercive-ness to the narrative, so as always, thanks for reading.

      Pete

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      • Aimer Boyz

        I would never say you were brainwashed. I think you have found what works for you. And I respect that. I have never felt any “coercion” about your posts which is why I’m still reading them 🙂 There are many ways to peace.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. gmgoetz

    Thank you Pete, again. Your posts are appreciated, and I understand exactly how you are feeling I believe, although I possibly left Christianity, and returned15-17 years later for different reasons. For many years now, I have had a sincere hurt for those who don’t know Jesus Christ as Saviour, and have hell for a destination. I have been involved in outreach ministries sharing the Love and Gospel of Jesus. For the past few years that intensity of telling others has increased, only because of the Love of Christ, and the knowledge that helll is real. God is giving everyone plenty of chances, and time, to accept Jesus as Saviour, but according to the Bible, that time will end some day, either by death, or by the return of Jesus.
    Hope this is somewhat clear. Keep up the good writing and ministry Pete. God’s Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nina Kaytel

    As an impoverish-white-disabled individual I enjoyed this post. I went from atheism to believer just recently, as a student of Psychology I am always fascinated with believers, I understand now. It’s part CBT and oddly comforting. I still have trouble with a lot of ‘magical’ thinking involved, yet I enjoy the selflessness and thankfulness and the community.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pete Deakon

      The Gospel of Jesus Christ is as far from “magical” as I can imagine–understanding ‘magical’ to have its origins in ‘some human creates the illusion…’ and ‘the Gospel’ to have its origins in the Trinity. The Trinity doesn’t create illusions, that creative activity is reserved for us creatures.

      But then, many folks don’t use words with much attention to precision, so maybe you meant something else by ‘magical’. I would be curious to learn what you did mean. No worries in any case. I’m glad to hear that you are not ashamed to profess Christ. Amen.

      Pete

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      • Nina Kaytel

        Sorry my psychology background is showing with my word-use. Here is what I meant: “Magical thinking refers to non-scientific beliefs and explanations that we make about the world around us. Some examples of magical thinking are superstitious beliefs, or believing that performing a certain ritual will directly bring about a specific outcome.”
        I struggle with the idea of ‘healing’ we had a guest pastor come to the church who was a healer, the way he spoke he could cure my genetic condition through faith. I can not jump on the idea, while it is nice, but God isn’t going to change my genes through faith and prayer, he is (if willing) going to give me or others the tools to find a treatment and cure.

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        • Pete Deakon

          Here’s the question that keeps me occupied these days. I think it’s especially relevant to a “genetic condition”.

          Humans have created the ability to hold-constant variables which are not actually constant, and this ability (science) seems to be the cause of healing our bodies. But it’s never the “science” that accomplishes the healing, is it? It’s something altogether different than the science (the holding-constant), right? Or do you disagree?

          My point is, if I understand the Biblical picture of reality correctly, the Triune God, if willing, certainly can change your genes through faith and prayer–maybe using the result of man-made tools (scientific medicine) or maybe miraculously. Or maybe your testimony of persevering as a believer in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, despite having some genetic condition is going to participate in building the Kingdom in some other way.

          I’ve never met a healer. Did he seem like a charlatan? Did you witness anything miraculous?

          Pete

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