Well, I can’t believe that I am writing to an Atheist website for insight. You see, I’ve been a theist my whole life, although for the most part that was by default because I was not a part of any faith community.
My belief in intelligent design extrapolates naturally to a creator(s), ergo; God!
I have flirted with various religions at different times, particularly when they seemed to offer answers to my deepest questions. Unfortunately, when my questions became too awkward, I was generally told that I had been given the answer and must accept it by faith – not a very critical form of deliberation.
Eventually, I stumbled upon some very learned, contemporary Christian apologists and my path to Christ was gradually laid. These ’scholars’ were very convincing in their arguments for Christianity and after commiting to that faith I was soon immersed in learning and teaching (at the lay-level).
I even taught a course on how to debate with atheists. This was done with the assumption that their objection to theism was either philosophically or scientifically based. I tell you this because I don’t want to come across as a gullible nutcase (as many Christians are perceived by those outside the faith). My primary instruction in the atheist course was to tell those attending to put away their Bibles because they might as well bring a copy of Bram Stoker’s Dracula for all the credibility it will carry with an atheist.
Well, that’s enough history, where I am now (philosophically) is what is germain. The answer in a nutshell is that I am still a theist but my faith in the Bible as ‘inspired’ and my belief in the claims of Christianity are unravelling at an alarming rate. The problem is that I am still active (spiritually, socially, etc) within the faith.
A group of us who were teachers and lay leaders within the church split away because of the institutional church’s lack of motivation to do the social work required – taking care of the disenfrancized, etc. As a result we formed a house church with no leader, denominational affiliation, established doctrine or theology, etc. We each naturally take leadership in areas where our talents lie. Despite what the institutional church members who oppose us believe (and there are many) it works beautifully and we are making a difference in our community. The trouble is that I now feel like a fraud due to my ever-widening disconnect with the Christian theistic position.
So here’s the $64.000 question – how do I gently break away without damaging a lot of people?
As a teacher I was very effective in rationalizing the faith of others so that they grew in confidence. My change of perspective has the potential to effect a lot of people, including my wife.
Please don’t offer platitudes such as be true to your conscience, because I know that’s what I should do – and damn the consequences – but I just can’t. I need to find a way to do it gently. Your insight will be greatly appreciated.
p.s. I came here because it would be impossible to get realistic advice from a Christian forum.