Monthly Archives: April 2013

Why I am an atheist

I am not an atheist. Or at least, not yet. I’m not sure. I am growing, and trying to learn about what is true.

I am a recent college grad. I studied physics and minored in writing. I spent some time in 2010 on a mission trip to a remote village in Africa, in part because I wanted to strengthen my faith, and it seemed to work at first. I saw God working there in new ways, and I learned a lot about seeking God, seeing God, and trusting in God. While surrounded by other missionaries and cut off from much of the rest of the world, I was absolutely convinced that I had found the right way to live. Even though I didn’t agree with everything the mission organization believed, I did think I’d found a true faith in God.

But when I came back from missions, I came back to my old life. I started reading the news online again, and I ended up running across atheist blogs. I found that I could relate to those experiences—I seemed to have more in common with the former Christian who left the faith than with Christian apologists. I found that atheist arguments made more sense and were much less refutable than Christian apologetics. Worse, I began to see that some of the problems we’d had on the mission field could be better explained by assuming there was no god.

I had never seen hard evidence that there is no God. But in all my time in remote Africa, giving my all and wholly devoting myself to God, I had never seen anything that would have happened differently if there was no god. No unexplained miracles, no prophesies or revelations, nothing at all without a material explanation.

There are many reasons I would call myself an atheist. I will try to list the biggest ones, and in the future write more regarding each topic.

A big issue is the disconnect between what the Bible says and what I see in the real world, specifically in two areas. One, the Bible says that miracles will occur when you pray to Jesus. We don’t see miraculous healings; we see normal medical procedures and a random distribution of unexplained recovery.

Two, the Bible claims to be the source of truth and morality, but many who study the Bible and call themselves Christian do not turn out to be good people. Good and bad people seem to occur in Christianity and in Islam, and in every other sect. Christianity also doesn’t seem to grant happiness more consistently than any other worldview.

Reason number three: in spite of all my genuine faith and my experience overseas, I’ve never seen evidence of God. Since evolution and modern science have given a plausible answer as to how the world could exist without god, the burden of proof is now on the theists, not the atheists.

Four, how people are treated by the Christians, particularly homosexuals. The Bible is very clear that homosexuality is a sin, but modern experience seems to suggest more and more that gay people are just born that way. Also, so many ‘spirit-filled’ Christians insist that you can’t believe in Jesus and still believe in evolution.

Five, Christians say that doubt is normal, and that one must have faith to get through it. You hear all the time about Christians questioning their faith. If what we have is a gift from a loving God and the only way to be saved, wouldn’t you expect more people to be sure


Why Blog?

I made my first post to an atheist website here a couple weeks ago, and it scared me.

I got a great, encouraging response. But it also made my potential atheism really real to me. For a long time I’ve been thinking atheist, but acting Christian. Saying out loud, even anonymously, that I don’t believe in god is kind of a big step.

Reading other people’s blogs and forum posts has been very helpful for me, but not as meaningful as speaking my own mind.

I have lots of reasons not to blog. For one thing, are my ideas really that interesting or original that someone would want to read them? For another thing, what if too many people want to read them, and my comments are full of arguing? Plus, I’m shy, and it can be painful to share something this personal about myself. Part of me worries that my atheism is just a ‘phase,’ and I’d be better off going back to church. And I still have this irrational fear that people will find out who I am in real life and use that to hurt me somehow (though I couldn’t explain how).

I will blog anyway, though. Everyone needs a support group, and when you are exploring new possibilities in faith, you need people with a new perspective. I don’t know people in real life who I think could help me on this road, so I need to look elsewhere.

So I’ll be blogging, here and on I’ll post some thoughts on why I’m an atheist and why I’m not an atheist. I’ll spell out some of my problems with the church and some problems with the book I’m reading now,“Godless” by Dan Baker. I may even share some Atheist Parables I wrote a year ago as I began to explore my doubts.

Thanks to those who have talked with me so far on my intro post, and encouraged me to keep moving forward.