Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Theohistory Thus Far

The following was written when this site launched in 2004. I have edited it slightly to expand and update sections. It was originally written July 4th, 2004, at 7:38 AM. I thought it would be good to repost this, as many people seem to not read this before going on the offensive, and completely disregard some of the facts within.

I grew up, basically, without religion. I was raised a CnE (christmas and easter) Catholic, and when I was 21, I found God. I had heard of "The Last Temptation of Christ" and figured if the church hated it, then it MUST be good. I rented it and became more curious about the life of Jesus, dug up an old Bible we had laying around behind other books, and started reading. I got hooked, and my wife (at the time) and I started going to church with a friend at my work.

We became devout baptists and went to church Sunday morning and evening, and Wednesday night. Every night also involved a bible devotional. We became alienated from our friends, but luckily I was convincing enough to get most of my "unsaved" heathen Catholic family to join the bandwagon.

Well after a couple years, I started to question. The most (only?) true thing in the Bible is (Matthew 18:3) where Jesus says you have to be as a child in order to get into heaven. How do children react to things? They usually accept them with very little convincing required. This is an important thing for childrens' survival. If a child questions everything an adult tells them, and tests each thing out on their own, they will be in grave danger. Imagine a child testing out an adult's theory that walking off a cliff will kill a person? Childrens' brains are wonderfully programmed by evolution to accept, without question, authority. This child-like mind is similar to being a christian: the less you think and question it, the more it makes sense. Adults usually need much more convincing before they will believe something. 

I was a Christian for about four years, with bible devotions every day, attending church three times a week (Sunday evening and morning, as well as Wednesday evening), teaching bible studies (I was pushed into it, despite not wanting really to do it, by my pastor, due to my intense study of the bible. People nicknamed me "The Berean," after the people in Berea from the book of Acts who study the bible very much), and doing door-to-door witnessing and pamphlet distributing. During that fourth year, I began really digging into the bibe, going into the history of the book and where it came from. This, of course, led to questions that had no satisfactory answers beyond, "We can't always understand God," which means, "There's no good reason so just ignore that contradiction or story." I started questioning things as an adult. These seeds of doubt led me to research things and eventually broke with my religion.

It was scary giving that up, but felt so good to finally be free. I felt as if I had woken up finally after so long of living with a sleeping mind. I began reading again, listening to music, and basically started learning again. It felt so good to think.

I told my family and friends I was agnostic, that I believed in a god, but wasn't sure who or what it was. I really just said this to cushion the blow for myself and them, as it was hard to go straight from devout baptist to atheism. Everyone thought I was flaky of course, and I can't tell you how many times I heard the line, "How can you go from being that religious to being not religious overnight?" Well, it wasn't overnight I would tell them, as it grew over about a year. I spent a good number of months tithing, reading the bible, teaching the bible, converting people to christianity, etc., when I didn't believe. It just took a while to build up the courage to split from it.

I've been non-church goer for about 8 years now (as of this writing, January, 2009). I've had many debates with people about religion/god/the bible, etc. since then, and my prior theist life has made it easy to dispute their claims in most cases. Most usually end with them stating, "Oh...well I'll have to look that up and get back to you," or changing the subject. I feel my religious experience was good as I have learned quite a bit. Before I was a christian, I never knew what to believe. By going through the years as a devout christian, I learned a lot about that lifestyle and belief system. I also learned it is false. As Nietzsche said, "That which does not kill me strengthens me." Instead of being in a belief-limbo as I was before finding religion, I am now positively sure that it is not reality. But I wasn't always sure I was an atheist.

On July 2nd, 2004, I stumbled across this site, and had a theological epiphany. My atheism was made apparent to me, when it wasn't something I had thought about much. While there, I found this article. It was just a one-shot study, but I found the idea of an "atheist bible study" quite humorous. It sounded sort of like an oxy-moron at first, but then I thought about how most atheists know more about the bible than christians do. So I decided to launch a site dedicated to studying the bible, to expose the errancies within it.

I hope you enjoy the site, and I encourage you to post comments. Have a great day!

For further information about coming out as an atheist, stop by this site.


Blogger -R·K- said...

deja vu... i stated the same thing about believing in A god... and not the one god... read my post on my beliefs... i swear i've never seen your blog before when i wrote that... i guess i'm not alone after all ^^.

12:17 PM  
Blogger John Heininger said...

I started out as a Catholic but was expelled from the Catholic school as a youth because I failed to conform. I lived as an agnostic until I started looking into who Christ was later in life, and concluded on historical and other grounds he was for real. I studied theology, apologetics and Law in the US, under Dr John Warwick Montgomery etc, and returned to Australia. I now speak and lecture in Christian Apologetics at various venues, and have been invited to address students at various universities, and have facilitated public debates with formost Skeptics and evolutionists. And regularly read best selling anti-God books and love cruising anti-Christian web sites.

All of which has only reaffirmed the truth of Christianity and theism. Thus, my experience is totally opposite to your experience and journey into atheism, which for philosophical, scientific,and theological reasons I now regard as the most absurd of all beliefs. As it amount's to believing the unbelievable, and thinking the unthinkable. Or as the good book says, "professing to be wise they become fools, ever learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth."

None-the-less, I do appreciate that atheists and the likes pose issues and raise questions that need to be addressed, as no belief system must remain beyond solid evaluation and critique, particularly Christianity. So guys, you are doing us all a service. If Christianity can't stand the heat, it shouldn't be in the kitchen.

Cheers, John

2:28 PM  
Blogger Fredi said...

you say "So I decided to launch a site dedicated to studying the bible, to expose the errancies within it." - you search "errancies" - you'll find just that. As Jesus said: "Seek and you shall find" - you find what you seek. I accept the Bible as authority (not as literally inerrant - the Bible never says it should be taken literally, actually it says quite the opposite) - if I don't understand, I'll put it on the back burner, let it simmer until I'm 'smarter' - it is amazing how much Truth you can find this way. I have learned that Truth is not necessarily in the literal text IN Bible, it is revealed THROUGH the Bible. I believe I can show you a few things in Genesis 1-3, i.e. the "fairy tale of Creation and Adam & Eve" that will catch your attention. This will be very interesting ...
Did you know that the Bible talks about dinosaurs 4000 years before the first bones were found?
Man is related to / evolved from animals.
The "serpent" in the garden may have been an "ape-like" creature, meaning "atheist monkey" vs. "God-conscious monkey" ...

1:30 PM  

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