What Happened to Our Faith

Brian’s FAQ                     April’s Story

FAQ on why I left the church (Brian’s Story)

Brian worked as Children’s Pastor at Freshwater Community Church in St. Bonifacius MN from 2005 to 2011.  He and his wife and their 3 children currently live in China.  This is their story of deconversion.


Discussion with Bob

Why did you write this?  

Many questions, many answers. This was the quickest way for me to answer anticipated questions. If you have one or two that aren’t on here, email us, and we will add it or reply.

Why atheism and not agnosticism?

I think properly, we are agnostics in the sense that no one knows or can know the truth about God’s existence. You cannot prove or disprove that He is real. So in that sense I am agnostic. In the same way that you can’t prove that unicorns exist or don’t exist, there isn’t enough evidence to merit belief, so I am atheist in regard to unicorns.

I think the most intellectually honest answer to my situation is atheism, because as a Christian I had already ruled out the existence of all the other Gods, (even the impersonal one). I’ll leave it to you to do the math.

Why are you using capitalizing personal pronouns for a God you don’t believe in? 

I’m just being respectful.

Don’t you think it takes as much faith to be an atheist as it does to be a Christian?  

I have come to dislike religious faith. Mormons, Muslims, Jews, and Christian all use the same “faith” to fill a gap where knowledge stops and where “what I hope is true” begins.

Why are you attacking Christianity now?

I see a difference in attacking and defending. I am defending what I believe, and I personally feel that I owe some people an explanation. If you feel that I owe you an explanation, then you are probably not one of the people that I feel I owe an explanation to.

So you think I’m stupid for believing? 

I don’t think this has anything to do with intelligence. Many people, much smarter than I am, are believers… in all manner of things. There are brilliant Christians, Muslims, and Jews. There are also stupid people who adhere to these belief systems.

Isn’t atheism just a cover for feeling hurt by God, or hating the church?  

No, I don’t feel angry with God because I don’t think He exists. I do not hate the Church or the church.

Why are you being so vocal about your unbelief?

I have been called a coward over this, and maybe rightfully so. There was never an endgame in mind when I left the church. I knew I didn’t want to become an apologist for atheism. I know that there will be many families who have loved us, who will turn their back on us. There will be many people praying and fasting because of this. Originally, we wanted to walk away quietly, we left Freshwater without direction and tried to call as little attention to it as possible. Because the story began to leak, I decided that if my story was to be told, it will be told by me.

How can you say prayer doesn’t work? My Aunt Sally…

Yes, I know. Everyone has a story of how prayer has changed their life. I had them too. But then again, so does every Mormon, Muslim and Jew. The strange thing is you can place people from multiple religions in a room, have them pray for mutually exclusive outcomes and they will all claim that their prayer was answered.
I also find it incredibly disrespectful that Tim Tebow bows down (I know, the blasphemy) and thanks God for giving him the strength to score 316 touchdowns, while all around the world 22,000 children die every day from poverty. 22,000 CHILDREN DIE EVERY DAY from something that humans could do something about, from something that God could definitely do something about.
There are some good conversations to be had about prayer and omnipotence.

How can you say God isn’t real? I feel Him every time I…

I think it is interesting that on occasion I felt very moved during worship services, even when I had stopped believing. I knew that it wasn’t God, it was simply an emotional response triggered by music. Most Pastors and Preachers will council against looking for an emotional response as a means of knowing anything about God. I believe this is sound advice because so many things can cause emotional responses.

How about some apologetics?

Sure, I’m happy to defend what I believe and why.

What do you think of the cosmological argument?

It has always been my favorite and still is. I found it and still find it the most compelling of all the arguments. However, the standard objection is more poignant now than ever. Also, there is an insurmountable leap from the god of this argument to the God of the Bible.

Do you think that by saying that you’re not a believer, you are going to hurt the faith of the young? 

I have always believed that truth will stand on its own two legs. I think this is a good opportunity to open a dialog about doubts, faith, and belief. Pastors have way less influence than the parents do, I would like to hope that I still carry so little weight. Kids: listen to your parents, think for yourselves. I think doubts are hidden within the church and that isn’t healthy (even if Christianity is true).
And have a little faith that a loving God would protect His flock. It’s not like He would let them be deceived, or even deceive them Himself.

Aren’t you afraid of going to hell? 

No.

What if you’re wrong?

What will anyone say to God if they stand before Him? I think the best course of action is just to keep your mouth shut. If God is omniscient then He already knows the answers before He asks. If not, you’re just hurting your odds by self incrimination.
Quite honestly, If I am wrong I will apologize. I will explain that I used everything I could as a resource to make an informed decision, and I made a mistake. I was honest in my search, I was unfearing in the consequences, and I was faithful to my convictions.

What is going to keep you from raping and murdering now?

If God came down and gave you a free pass to do whatever you wanted to with no eternal repercussions, how long would it take you to rape your neighbor? You wouldn’t do it because you’re a fairly decent person. I will also not be raping your neighbor. If fear of hell is the only thing keeping you from raping and murdering, then I am glad you are a Christian and there is no reason to doubt.

Why don’t you believe any more?

It all began with the chainsaw analogy. I have always enjoyed arguing theology, be it with a Mormon or a Calvinist. I began to think that if I wanted a Mormon to actually listen to reason, I should be willing to open myself up to the same reason. I began looking at the things that I believe with the same critical eye that I was applying to the Mormon, Calvinist, Catholic faith.
Apologetics (a defense of belief) has always held a spot in my heart because I like logic, reason, and it played a large role in my conversion. But, listening to a Christian explain the other side of the argument is like going to a Mercedes dealership to hear the advantages of BMWs. I began to listen to well spoken atheists make cases for themselves. There are a large number of outspoken opponents on the internet.

Who has influenced your thought process?

Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Bertrand Russell, Richard Dawkins, Penn Jillette (Penn and Teller), NonStampCollector, Thunderf00t, DprJones, James Randi, The Thinking Atheist, The friendly Atheist, The Atheist Experience. I think Christopher Hitchen and The Atheist Experience are good places to start.

You weren’t really a Christian to begin with.

Well, that’s not a question. And it probably makes you a Calvinist. But okay.

If you were having doubts, why didn’t you talk to me? 

I’m not sure if I want to point out how arrogant that position is. But I did speak to several Christians that I felt were safe to talk to about this. People I knew very well, and people I didn’t fear would feel the need to call my church and have me fired.

I feel hurt and angry. 

I’m sorry. I knew this would hurt many people. Particularly my family, and I don’t have words for how I feel. I am so sorry. I have tears as I write this, I am so sorry.

What’s the Chainsaw analogy?

My original doubt. I voiced to several Christians, and always received the same insufficient answer.
Imagine that you own a chainsaw, disable all the safety features, and start it in your living room and tell a toddler not to touch it. If the toddler touches it, who is at fault? (Most people are happy to blame the toddler, which is okay I guess. It ends up making you a pretty crappy person, either way.) So the toddler is at fault and is personally responsible for the repercussions, and cleaning up the blood and fingers.
Now imagine that you have this chainsaw, disable all the safety features, start it and place it in the living room. You tell your toddler, your child who you know better than they know themselves, not to touch it. You know that this child is going to touch the chainsaw. When the child touches the chainsaw, who is at fault? (If you have seen through the analogy already, no doubt the child is still at fault. Either way, you are the world’s worst parent. Ultimately the analogy concerns the biblical creation story. God creates a chainsaw, places it in the garden, with toddlers who have no idea of the true ramifications of their actions, and leaves them alone. He has foreknowledge that they will eat of the tree. And this isn’t all, He leaves them in the living room, with a taunting neighbor who says, “Touch the chainsaw…” )
The insufficient answer, that has grown so unpalatable: I know it doesn’t make sense, but God is good.

How does it feel to be a hypocrite and a liar?

It sucks. I have invested the past 15 years of my life in the church and ministry. I believed as much as anyone. I have spent years and tens of thousands of dollars in school (Undergrad in Bible, Grad in Missions), I have spent years in ministry, and 2 years in China as a Missionary. I dedicated my life to sharing the Gospel. And yes, it hurts to know that the last year of my ministry was not genuine. My love for people has always been.
Quite honestly, I wasn’t sure what to do. The economy was/is terrible, and I’m pretty unmarketable outside the church. I felt trapped in my job, and trapped continuing the lie. It caused me to become depressed and irritable, generally unpleasant. I think this will be a big part of the healing from that–coming clean.

What do you think of these verses?

What do you think of these passages from Jane Austen?
This is my blanket response to scripture quoting. Scripture holds little weight and I will not give words authority in my life if they don’t make sense to me. To do so otherwise makes me (or anyone else) no different than the person from a different religion that I would try to convert.

Do you want me to re-explain the Gospel so that you understand? 

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I understand it as well as you do, perhaps better. I am happy to dialog about why I don’t believe. Send me an email, and I’ll write when I can. I’m in open discourse with several people already.

Did you leave the church because you were sinning?

I left the church because my doubts crystallized into unbelief. When I was a Christian, I read Bill Bryson’s “A short history of nearly everything.” I skipped the chapter on evolution because I didn’t want to hear it. I believed that doubting was a sin, maybe double-mindedness, maybe serving two masters… But if doubt is sin, how does the Mormon escape his cult?

Where does April stand on this?

April can tell her own story, but we are absolutely on the same page, we just got there by different methods.

I knew it, I knew you weren’t a Christian, I saw through it the whole time.

First, it’s not a question. Second it’s incredibly condescending. Third, I no longer feel bound to hold my tongue for the sake of others. So, kindly think through what you say before you say it. (Only included because I have heard it several times.)

What are you going to do now? 

We always wanted to be missionaries to China. In fact, the original plan was Freshwater till I finished at Crown then move to China. We stayed at Freshwater for a long time. It seemed like such a waste to not come to China anyway. I love teaching, I love kids, I like China. We will stay here until we don’t like it anymore, and then we will figure it out from there.

Is there something you would like to say to the person who has read this far? 

Yes. If you have read this far, I am sorry for the pain that this is causing. I know that many of you have poured your lives into us. Many of you have loved us like family, treated us like family. We came to Minnesota with so little, and through the kindness of your hearts, we left with so much. I hope that no one feels used or betrayed and I only hope that in time things will return. Even if they don’t or can’t, we will always treasure the love you have shown for us, and now we directly attribute it to you. Not God’s favor on us.

What about the kids?

We will not raise our children as militant atheists. We will teach them to be skeptical of any claim, to use their brains, to be logical and rational. If this leads them to become atheists, so be it, if they decide something else, fine. I hope that I can look back on their lives and feel like I did everything I could to give them the tools to make good sound decisions based on the facts, to always be curious, to question things, and not to fear making mistakes.

What if I’m having doubts? 

Good! You will either come out a stronger Christian or you can file them away until they overwhelm you. Talk to someone, talk to a Christian or an atheist you trust. Get on the internet and find someone, there are plenty of anonymous places you can bounce ideas at. (If you’re a pastor, there are resources for pastors who don’t believe anymore, even if you’re still behind the pulpit.) It can be incredibly isolating and painful, so if you can prevent doing it alone, that’s best.

Is there only one reason you don’t believe? 

No, there are a bunch, I have been keeping a list that I called objections, some reasons I thought were compelling and others not so much. My list isn’t in shape for public consumption. If you want to see it, you can, typos and all. You can raise objections to my objections, see why I doubt, or just make fun of my ramblings. I’ll email it if you want, but I’m not going to post it publically.

And if you feel like this is attacking and not defending, feel free to skip this section.

The earliest objections to Christianity were on philosophical grounds but with the growing body of scientific knowledge many objections are raised because there are discrepancies between the way the world works and what the biblical text says.
I also have objections based on the way God acts in the Bible. When not faced with an atheist aggressor, most Christians will admit that God does, and orders, some pretty strange things in the Bible. The things I am talking about are incomprehensible: creating mankind with the knowledge that most would eternally suffer; allowing the indescribable suffering of so many here on earth; creating a rule system where a God-Man would have to be sacrificed in order to achieve forgiveness (when I forgive someone I don’t require a sacrifice)–this is a self imposed system; allowing an adversary to run rampant and (in terms of soul collection) win; children who get cancer; ordering his followers to kill other people, to dash children on rocks, when He is perfectly capable of killing them with hail or something else; slavery; and no good cohesive representative branch here on earth.
Typically the answer is: I don’t understand, but God is good. An answer that if given by any other religion would simply not be good enough. Why did you fly your planes into the building? I don’t know why God asked me to do it; in fact, it doesn’t make sense, but God is good. This great moral law giver does some pretty atrocious things, unless you say: well, God is good.
Scientific Evidence: Statistical analysis of prayer; evolution, age of the earth, age of the universe, size of the universe, DNA evidence, dinosaurs, Noah, biblical/archeological inconsistencies (Wikipedia: Jericho).

It’s not intended to be comprehensive. Only to further my point, the rebuttal: Yes, these things don’t make sense, but God is good. This is only an acceptable answer for our religion, not for others.

Please forgive me for not telling you sooner. I hope you can understand why it was so difficult.

April’s Story


I am not a believer. This is not the “why.” This is the “what happened.” I spent my entire life, even as a small child transitioning into conscious thought, believing in God, assuming that he existed, as is natural for any child who is brought up in a Christian home. I “asked Jesus into my heart” when I was four, was baptized when I was in second grade because a lot of other kids were doing it, realized when I was twelve that what I had done at four and eight had probably not meant anything, and lived in fear for the next five years, believing God was real, but not wanting to submit my will to his will.  I think only three people knew that I was not a Christian.

When I was seventeen, I met Brian, who had just returned from China and was on his way to Japan to be a missionary. I loved him desperately (as only a teenager can do when they first meet someone, I’m sure, but it has lasted), and I wanted to be able to be a Christian so badly, so that I could be with him, and so that I could finally rid myself of the horrible fear of hell that was haunting me.  Sometime in February of 2002, I spent a long night, some on the phone with my dear mentor from home, some on the phone with Brian, a lot on my own, wrestling with surrendering myself to God.  I tried to ask myself what kinds of things God could ask me to do that I would not be willing to do, and it seemed to me that I could probably do most of them (I really wanted to be a missionary, and I guess you kind of need to be a true believer to do that), and as much as I wanted to have some kind of feeling about him, he wasn’t giving me that, so I’d just have to jump in and tell him I believed, and ask him to please help me believe more, and learn to love him, and maybe have a feeling once in a while about him (I knew feelings had nothing to do with faith, but I did so want to have some kind of affirmation). I had a very unemotional conversion, just a rational decision that since God was real, I needed to accept Jesus as my savior, and hopefully the rest would follow.  Six months later I was baptized, especially for Brian’s sake, who was a firm believer that you aren’t even saved until you are baptized.  I don’t think that a lot of people outside of those present when I was baptized knew that I hadn’t been a Christian for most of my life.

I married Brian 8 months after that, and we began our lives together in Minnesota. I struggled with a lot of depression, both before and after I was married, which was called spiritual warfare by both Brian and some of those closest to me (talk about some traumatic experiences), but with time, a little distance from my less than happy teenage years at home, and a little medication, it eventually passed. I still had no feelings about God. I tried to read my Bible daily, I prayed, I basically kept a running monologue with God in my head all day long. He was just someone to talk to, whether I knew if he was listening or not.

Two years after we married, Brian got hired at Freshwater to be the new children’s pastor. It was the beginning of the best period in my life. Together we worked on curriculum and taught children every Sunday, watching many children grow and graduate out of the program. I have never felt less qualified for anything in my life. I felt that if the church could see how spiritually dry I was, they would not have hired Brian, but I was so grateful they did. As exhausting as Sundays (and eventually Wednesdays) were, I really loved being at the church. I loved the way it became our family, and we were surrounded by people that we loved, and who loved us in return. I feel like I became a different person over the six years we were there, like I came out of my shell, and became comfortable in my own skin, because I was accepted by so many kind people. I loved teaching the children, something that I had once thought would be terrifying, and I loved it when people came to Freshwater and left with a good experience. I suppose I might have grown up on my own, but it’s hard to imagine that I would be the person I am now without my experience at Freshwater. I really never wanted to leave. (I should also add that somewhere in here, 8 years after I first started college, I finally finished with a BA in Biblical Studies at Northwestern College.)

Over all this time, I had this nagging feeling that I was not really a Christian, and I was definitely not sure where I would go when I died, and the thought of death filled me with fear. But I didn’t know what else to do. I occasionally sought help from people wiser than myself, and I read books, and tried to be faithful in my Bible reading. I still kept up that inner monologue that was directed at God, but there was nothing there. And, though I was afraid of what that meant, I didn’t know what more to do. I was always told it wasn’t about feelings, so I went through the motions, hoping that God would be good enough to give me more someday.

Then sometime during 2010, probably early (it’s hard to set a specific date on something like this), Brian began to ask questions about God and the Bible. They were all questions that you are taught in Bible school, along with the answers, but of course, the answers do not truly satisfy any real seeker (even as a non-seeker, I had an uncomfortable feeling that the answers just didn’t quite add up), and they did not satisfy Brian, who had learned the same answers when he was in school. He asked the standard questions about the problem of evil, apparent contradictions in the Bible, contradictions between God’s character and his actions in the Old Testament, the scientific inaccuracy of the Bible, etc. He didn’t want to ask these questions, because he didn’t want to doubt God, and he held as tightly as he could to his belief, but all the while, as answers failed, the grounds for his faith began to fall away around him. At first, I gave him the answers I had been taught (he wasn’t really asking me anyway), though I could see for myself that they were insufficient, and I would end by telling him that there were no answers for the questions he was asking. If there were black and white answers, one way or the other, people would not still be asking these questions to this day. He would eventually just have to accept that some things have to be taken on faith, and choose to believe anyway. His doubting began to scare me. Even though I had never had a vivid spiritual life, and would not have been surprised if I’d shown up in heaven and God hadn’t found my name in the Book of Life, I had never even considered the possibility that God was not real, and it terrified me that the man who had been so passionate for God, who had been God’s rock in our family, might fall away. I didn’t want BOTH of us to go to hell. I begged him to just believe, but of course he couldn’t.

The more he questioned, the more depressed he became. When you are in the position he was in, to doubt is to be alone. There are very few uninterested third parties in whom you can confide. We felt very constrained by his position in the church, and had the very material fear that he would lose his job if anyone knew what he was going through. Surely we would come out the other side intact, and then it could all simply be related as a testimony, and no one need be worried.  Many of my friends were, in essence, the wives of my husband’s bosses (the elders of the church), and all of my friends were deeply invested in Freshwater, and I would not blame any of them in the slightest for feeling that a person in Brian’s position should not be teaching children about Christ. So we kept silent.

Time went on and Brian continued to look for answers, and the more we talked, the more I began to see that there were things in the Bible that simply did not line up, even with the answers I was given in college, and that it might be okay to use my God-given (?) rationality to look objectively at these things and say that they might be wrong. I will not go into the details here about what specific things caused me to begin to consider the possibility that God might not exist, as I want this to just be a history of how we came to be where we are today, but I will write more about that later. I found (a little while after Brian had discovered the same thing), that when you take away your preconceptions, there are many things in the Bible that are lacking, and many things in the world that do not fit with the existence of an all-good, all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God. This period of questioning on both of our parts lasted from late summer 2010 to late November/early December and involved lots of fascinating, and sometimes intense, discussions about the Bible, and morality, and God, and science.

Things began to make sense that had never made sense before, but that I had just dismissed because the Bible was the supreme authority. By Thanksgiving, I realized I no longer believed that God existed (to be brief), and the thing was, I knew I genuinely did not believe, because I had no fear of the consequence of saying so. Some Christians argue that fear is the wrong approach to Christianity, but there is a dire consequence to not following God, and if it is real, then fear is the proper response to hell if you are not right with God.  I knew that I no longer believed, and Brian felt the same way, but was not ready to say so definitively for a few more weeks.  It is a difficult thing to give up something you’ve devoted all of your adult life to. It sucks actually. I do not know actual dates that things happened, because it was all so gradual, but I remember spending our first Christmas as atheists.

Now we were faced with the decision of when and how to leave Freshwater. And we sat on it for a long time. I realize we should have left right away, and there isn’t an excuse for not leaving, but we had been so gradually getting to that point that it seemed strange to just leave. We were so happy at Freshwater, even though we didn’t believe what we were teaching, and it is a  terrifying thing to quit a job in the middle of a recession. We knew we’d never have another job that was also home and family to us. Brian continued to do his job as he had always done it, though his passion was gone, and the hypocrisy of teaching children something that he doesn’t believe began to wear on him. We made it through VBS, but when Brian was unexpectedly asked, a few weeks after VBS, if he had the passion to make Kid City better, he chose to answer honestly, and said no. And so began our newest life adventure.

Many of you will wonder why we did not tell you the moment we made the decision, or any time after that, but it is a difficult thing to decide to strike a blow like that, one that will devastate those who love you most dearly, and for which you can offer no comfort. Believe it or not, I can still remember what it was like to believe, and I remember what it felt like, believing someone I loved was going to hell. It would have been unbearable to know that they had chosen their path, and there was nothing I could do to change it. There are people we love so much, that are closer than family to us, and telling them would change everything. It’s hard to let go of family, to do something that could sever your ties forever, at the very least making them feel as though you’ve betrayed them and rejected something that is at the very core of their being. Of course it will never be the same.

The one thing we did decide, when Brian was fully separated from Freshwater, was that if anyone asked outright, we would tell them the truth. I secretly wished people would just ask, so that I could get it over with, but only one couple did. Telling them was far more terrifying than I could have imagined. When the moment came, I thought my heart was going to pound out of my chest. It was a difficult, emotional, upsetting conversation, and my first opportunity to see what it would be like to tell–something that I wish I could avoid at all costs. To their credit, they have done their best to treat us kindly ever since, but there is no way to make it easy to tell anyone.

When I was a Christian, I thought that an atheist was someone who had had a bad experience at church, and hated Christians, or who didn’t understand God, and hated him. I didn’t realize that an atheist just doesn’t believe that God exists. It’s not a choice. You can’t force yourself to believe something you don’t think is real, no matter how much you’d like to, if only for the sake of those you love. And I do not hate God. I just don’t think he exists. This is not a reaction to a bad experience, or bad things in the world (though I think some bad things are evidence that God doesn’t exist). It’s just a reaction to evidence. If I could believe, I would. I know no one who has not been there will not understand it, but I grew up immersed in Christianity. I love Christians (the non-crazy ones). All of my friends are Christians. It is my culture, and my family. I still love the Church (when it doesn’t do crazy things, which bothered me before, too, like Westboro Baptist, which bothers any sane Christian), and I love all my Christian friends, and I wouldn’t change them, except that I wish I could make it less important to them, so they wouldn’t be sad or angry with me for who I am now, and so that we could maintain our friendships just the way they were.

Now that I am an atheist, in most ways, I am happier, and in two ways, I am sadder. I will begin with the sad parts. For one thing, I am still afraid of death, only now it is not a fear that I will go to hell, it is a desperation to hold on to the life I have, because I love it so much, and I don’t want it to be over. Once I die, I will never see anyone I love again. If one of my children dies prematurely, I do not know how I will recover, knowing there is no hope of an eternity with them. And also, I no longer have the hope that there might be some all-powerful being protecting me from sudden, accidental death because of his omniscient plan. At the same time, I do not have the even more horrible fear, that one of my children might not choose to follow God and would end up in horrible suffering for eternity. The other area of sadness is being in the presence of those I love (all Christians), and knowing that, if they knew the truth about me, the happiness we have together would be forever tainted. Of course, if you’re reading this, they probably know now.

I am happier because I feel an urgency to savor every moment of the life I have. Life really feels sweeter. It is not a sin to love the world (not the “world,” that horrible, dirty, evil thing in the Bible, but the actual, natural world, and the people and experiences it holds). I never know what day will be my very last, and so I should do what I can to enjoy what I have now (I know people say that all the time, but when you’re a Christian, you are really just waiting for a better life after this one, so there isn’t that sense of urgency to make the most of the here and now). The burden of guilt I have always carried with me–the knowledge, that in addition to all of the faults I already know I have, there are a million more that I have just because I was born human, and I can never overcome them without God–that burden is much less. My faults are just what they are. I don’t need to sit and pray for God to fix me, it’s not a sin for me to go out and try to be a better person on my own. If I eat too much, I ate too much, and it’s bad because I will get fat. I do not also need to add to that the guilt because gluttony is a sin; I can just choose to try do better the next time (and the time after that…and the time after that…). I can take life as it comes, at face value. I can try and do my best, and my life will look no different than that of any Christian, only my Christian friends will look at it through a different lens, and interpret everything they see as happening because I do not believe in God. When you thought I was a Christian, if something bad happened to me, it was a test. If it happens to me now, it will be because I have stopped following God. If  a good thing happened to me as a Christian, it was God working everything out for the good of those who love him; if it happens now, it is simply God causing rain to fall on the wicked as well as the good. I know I cannot do anything about how I am perceived, and I have to let go of it, but if you know me, you know how difficult that will be.

Please forgive me for not telling you sooner. I hope you can understand why it was so difficult.

April’s (Much Briefer) FAQ

Even though you think that God doesn’t exist, why not just believe anyway? After all, if you follow God and he doesn’t exist, nothing bad happens, but if you don’t follow him, and he does exist, you’ll be in Hell for eternity?  That is a great question (also known as Pascal’s wager), and what you may not understand is that I didn’t choose to not believe in God. As far as I know, he doesn’t exist. I can’t believe in him, no matter how much I want to. I can’t make myself believe something I know to be untrue. All that is left, then, would be going through the motions, going to church, reading my Bible, “praying,” doing ministry, but all the time not believing. Would God honor that? Of course not. If he were who he said he is, he’s certainly not stupid, and that is not the “faith” that the Bible talks about saving us.

Why did you choose to stop believing in God? Please, please, please stop calling this a choice. I DIDN’T choose it. It happened. Not to belittle your faith, because I certainly do not seek to belittle Christianity, but say I was seven years old, and I had just lost a tooth, and I woke up while my mom was putting a dime under my pillow. Would you ask me why I chose to stop believing in the tooth fairy? Of course not, because I just discovered the truth (or at least, what my experiences led me to believe was true – but still, not a choice). I am just guilty of waking up at the wrong moment. I do not equate God with the tooth fairy, not in the least, but what else do I have to compare it to, to help you understand? And just so you know, I would never have chosen this. Why would I give up that life I had, that was built entirely on and around God? Our whole life was the church, all of our friends are the church, our livelihood, even our beautiful house in Minnesota was pretty much all because of the wonderful people at our church. I was so happy. Now we have to build a new life, from scratch, because things can just never be the same when you turn your back on everything that matters to all the people who matter to you. Perhaps you could sympathize if we were Muslims-turned-Christian, and had lost everything in a similar fashion.

Will you still teach your children morality?  Now, this may be difficult for some of you to hear, and many of you will not believe me, but Christianity doesn’t have the monopoly on morality. I imagine if you weighed the people of all cultures against each other, the Christian would measure up about the same as any other average human being. The Christian chalks this up to the fact that all humans are born sinful and evil, and only through God’s forgiveness and covering our sins can we go to heaven. That’s the only difference between a Christian and a non-Christian. Other people might chalk this up to the fact that society cannot work without a moral code. The golden rule is kind of common sense. We have been told that, whatever we think, it will be impossible for us to raise our children well, to have any kind of sense of right and wrong. And of course, if you believe that, I can’t tell you otherwise. Who knows how our kids will turn out? There are Christians whose children turn out perfectly awfully, and Christians who do an amazing job at raising their children. If my kids turn out well in the end, you will think it is because God has some kind of a plan for them and was preserving them from our unholy influence, and if they end up in prison or on the streets, it will just be the natural result of our “decision” not to follow God.

Do you hate the church? Did you have a bad experience that made you stop following God? I will state this again–I love the church. I love Freshwater. Not a single thing happened there that I wouldn’t want to relive in a heartbeat. Most of the bad things that happened in my life, mostly in my childhood and teenage years, never once caused me to doubt there was a God. I never felt comfortable blaming God for my problems, and I was always very grateful when things went well. I can honestly say that I have never been angry at God, and now, it’s kind of irrelevant.

Why are you telling now?   For a long time, I have been in denial about the fact that this would have to eventually come out. I don’t know how I thought it would be avoided, because in order to never tell, I’d either have to lie for the rest of my life or cut ties with everyone I love, and neither of those are viable options. We are telling now because we have discovered that it is getting out on its own. Already people know that we did not tell, and we have no idea how they found out. What is important to us now is that people hear it from us (who haven’t heard it already), and that it is not a scandal that is covered up and gossiped about. We are not telling because we want to proselytize for atheism, or because we want to hurt anyone. It is just because it is the truth, and hiding the truth never works. Yes, we did wrong by not telling long ago, but how could it suddenly be right for us to not tell now? The very people who are angry with us for not telling also want us to keep our mouths shut now, and pretend that people don’t know (when many somehow do). But I just can’t agree with them. I don’t want to just cover this up and pretend it didn’t happen. I’ve seen the movies–it never works. We will not tell your children–we certainly do not want to hurt them, and we know it is not our place to tell them; we have gone so far as to de-friend the ones we are friends with so that they will stand less of a chance of finding out on their own. If you want to allow them to re-friend us later, they are welcome to.

What are the problems that you have with God and Christianity? Please see Brian’s FAQ. I stand behind everything he says, and I really really really hate debating, especially when the debate is likely to be fruitless because we are operating on completely different assumptions. You may think I owe you that much, but I really can’t go there, at least not right now. Any questions you have can be answered much more coherently by Brian.

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21 comments

  1. Coming from someone who has known about this part of your life for awhile now, I can honestly say that within the last year you have both become visibly happier ever since you started being true to yourself and released the guilt that you felt from living a life that contradicted what you have come to believe. If there is a God (and I personally believe there still is), he would not want people to live in complete ignorance, never using their mind to wrestle with the discrepancies of religion/faith/God/Jesus that come to the surface when challenged. The God that I believe in would be proud of you for using your brain. Constantly searching for truth is more admirable by far than turning off your ability to question and reason because it makes you feel insecure and in danger of helI. respect your journey and bravery more than you know. I also know that there is no end point to a spiritual journey while we are are on earth, so I fully support you and stand with you on your journey no matter what comes your way. I love you both.

  2. Brian and April, I know that we don’t really know one another, since I haven’t seen Brian in many years. I just want to encourage both of you in your journey. I believe that each of us is responsible to search for ourselves to find truth. For some of us, it leads to unbelief in a deity. My oldest, Jacob, is at this place now. Thank you for being open and sharing your heart. Some people will not respect you for this, stand strong and know that you are doing the right thing by being honest. I truly wish you guys the best and hope that you enjoy your new journey. If there is a God, He is quite capable of speaking to you and revealing Himself to you without condemnation. Wish I had had the opportunity to come hang with the family before you left on your new adventures! All the best.

  3. Matt Harner · · Reply

    Hey Brian and April –
    Love you. I wasn’t sure when your changes would become public knowledge, but I am glad that you are now in a position where you can still make a difference in the world and provide for your family without worrying about the results of telling people. I wish I could have said something that would have changed your minds, but as Brian pointed out, it would be arrogant of me to assume I had such a profound grasp of knowledge/wisdom that my words automatically would lead to your faith. Especially considering that (what I consider to be) God’s words weren’t enough to keep you believing.

    But yes, I still love you guys. And I love any updates I can get. Take care.

  4. So, i am reading this and i will say that I am shocked. With that said, i will also tell you that i have always tried to leave a open mind, be authentic and transparent. I appreciate your honesty in this. Where i do not agree with your views and find it saddening to myself personally, you do have a right to your own beliefs, thoughts etc.
    I personally did not know the story at Freshwater, nor did i want to hear it from anyone but yourself but i will tell you that it does disgust me that if you were unhappy at Freshwater you should have stepped down right away at that time, instead of working with many children to teach them about Jesus, and for that I do hold you accountable for and not the Church. As a parent, I do not only rely on others to teach my Children about Jesus, this is also my responsibility, i did trust that you were doing it with a genuine heart….noone but you can be responsible for deceiving parents.

    I am not trying to be harsh, but honest. What bothers me is that I always thought of both of you as authentic and honest. It bothers me to know I was deceived. Where i understand we all do things that we shouldnt, i personally have a problem where people intentionally continue doing something when they shouldnt. In my opinion, i do feel that your not believing in God is due to your bitterness of the Church as I have seen it many times before. Where I can understand why people get bitter, one needs to remind themselves and others that humans are running the church after God and they do sin just like everyone. Christian or not, we all deserve forgiveness and compassion.

    I appreciate your honesty and genuinely enjoy your posts. Even though we were not close friends when you were here, i appreciated knowing you both and hope to continue to see your lives in the upcoming years. I will continue to pray for you…whether you like it or not. As you have a right to believe what you would like, i do as well. I choose to be a Christian but I will accept anyone who believes differently.

    Thanks for sharing your views and for now being honest. I appreciate it.
    Marlyce

  5. We love your family. I guess I don’t know what to say, really, except that we love your family.Your journey is your own. Stay in touch. Much love from the Roberts family.

  6. dewdrop78 · · Reply

    So much to say in response. I don’t know where to begin, except to say that Tammy and I love and appreciate the Backs, as much as always; even if some the layers of those reasons have changed slightly. I really wish that we would have been able to talk a little bit about this when you came to visit recently. I think you would have found us to be one more safe place, where you could air your issues, without fear of being ignored, judged, brushed off, or criticized. Sorry if our house-guest made such a conversation difficult. It must have been God’s will that we not talk about it that night 🙂

    In all seriousness, I value intellectual honesty. As a Christian, I do not fear any genuine search for truth. If I did, what would that say about my confidence in the reality that God exists and has created us in his image (with an ability to perceive truth; even if our reason is fallen and imperfect). It appears that you also value an intellectually honest search for truth. And yet, we’ve arrived at different conclusions for the time being. What am I missing? What are you missing?

    I hope that we can have some honest dialogue over some of the things you’ve expressed above. I think we can learn from each other.

  7. Kim Trujillo · · Reply

    Dear Brian and April,

    I am very saddened by this news. No, I did not see this coming. Not like this. I thought that there must be some reason for your leaving so suddenly and quietly, but assumed it was personal and that you must have decided that children’s ministry was not where your heart was. I had felt that Brian was not happy with what he was doing for about a year, I think, but never attributed it to a lack of faith. I did not call and ask about it because we really did not know each other well and I did not want to intrude. As for comments that people have made to you about it that are offensive to you, please understand that staying in a position of teaching their children about Jesus while you did not believe may have something to do with that. I hope that you can forgive them as you are asking us to forgive you.

    I do not want to get into a big apologetics debate but I do have an observation to make about the chainsaw analogy. According to Genesis, God did not create Adam and Eve as toddlers. They were fully functioning, rational beings created in his image. Also, the fruit was not a chainsaw. How can you equate the two? I do not believe that your analogy holds up at all. If you use evil as an apologetic against God, then you have acknowledged and demonstrated God. Yes, I do believe that God is good, that I am not able to understand everything so that some things don’t make sense to me. But I know what my life was without belief and how Jesus has made a difference in my life. If that is unpalatable to you, then I am glad that you found the courage to step down as children’s pastor.

    Most Sincerely,
    Kim Trujillo

  8. Miriam Douglass · · Reply

    I am glad that am not an intellectual!!! I am just a simple Florida girl who decided at 5 to walk to church by myself. I have always had a love and a desire for God. Before I retired, I raised milkweed so that the Monarch butterflies would lay their eggs and I could share the wonder of the birth with the kids. When each of my children were born and now my grandchildren, I held them in my arms and just wondered how in the world did this little baby fit inside that tummy!!!! AND what a miracle from God each one is. I love the surprises He gives me daily. I could list so many times He has touched our lives. But just one example: 4 years ago Amy was in Springfield and the rest of us were somewhere in the south fairly close together. First Marybeth and John moved to Memphis, Dan and I had been at Mt. Dora for 17 wonderful years and God moved in many ways to get us back to Weiner, AR, the Tim and his Beth. They were in FL and had been promised at brand new store to be built in FL. As we were driving to AR to talk to the people, Tim called to tell us that the new store wasn’t going to be built and no new stores were being built in FL. After we moved, a store came available to Little Rock, a man had been chosen for it but the deadline for choosing hadn’t closed. Tim was chosen. Now we are all cluster close together. I was worried because I figured that either Dan or I would need all of our children close for some reason. BUT I was wrong!!! After years of not being able to have children, Marybeth and John found out about embryo adoption. Only 2 places in the U.S. that this is done. TN and CA. We now have 4 1/2 month old twin granddaughters born 5 weeks early. Both were under 5 pounds but healthy and beautiful. I spent many, many days help those precious gain weight. They had to be fed every 2 hours and Marybeth had to pump every 3 hours. God put us all together for this precious little ones. How could all of this not be because of God?!!!!

    As much as I will never convince you that there is a God, you will never convince me that all of this just happened to work out all on its own. Please, don’t think that I believe in fairy tales because all of this was good things that happened. Five years ago today, my mother and my brother were killed by a drunk driver. I didn’t know a person could cry so many tears. Where did they all come from? Then 10 days later Dan’s mother died and an hour later a close friend in the church also died! God got us through the tough times also.

    I don’t mean this to be ugly but my heart is filled with sorrow for you and especially your family. We have such a good time in the Lord…Dan, myself, Amy, Steve, Cael, Marybeth, John, Madalynn, McKinley, Tim, Beth, Alli. We get together every chance we can, vacation together, try to spend holidays together. At the base of this deep, strong family love is God. I know your family has a deep strong love too but I am so thankful that ours is based on God and His love for us. I am looking forward to celebrating in Heaven with them one day. Love, Miriam Douglass

  9. It’s sad that so many Christians give the “God is good’ answer to the questions about why bad things happen. Bad things happen because we break God’s law. (sin) ie: “wages of sin is death” Scripture tells us that God has written his law on our hearts and since you want questions here’s one. How do you explain humans having a conscience and knowing right from wrong or would you say morality is just relative?

  10. Wow. So you don’t believe in God. I don’t know many outspoken atheists (who actually know what they believe anyway), so is it ridiculous of me to ask if you believe in the devil? How do you explain all the evil in the world? I sincerely want to know.

  11. Bob Haggerty · · Reply

    Sorry about the confusing intro. I accidentally included some notes at the top. If you start reading at the letter starting at “Brian” it will make more sense.

  12. Matthew Hays · · Reply

    My name is Matthew
    I read your story and I have to admit that considering all you know about God and his kingdom are giving it all up. But with that said it’s ok I understand. Science as a way of making the research work when there’s grant money on the line. I’m sure you can appreciate that living the lie when you were teaching those young impressionable minds; when you had other misgivings. But wanted to share my story I’m a newbie. I was born again back in 9 23 2006. I still don’ t know the bible as well as most christian. But I am his and he is mine. I’m on the other side of the spectrum from April in away. I born into a Christian family. but then it all went wrong. My parents got divorced when I was 4 and went on to have 7 more between them as I was raised back and forth by them. I kind of believed in God but after all that pain and mad house experiences I new by the 8th grade God didn’t exist I said it once in a class aloud and got slapped by girl. The teacher even saw me and didn’t do anything. But I felt she was the fool. I went on with life finding drugs and drinking. Loving punk rock and not caring about myself or the world. Then my mom met a man that was a alcoholic but cared for me and showed me what money can do and know the right friends could do. I changed in only that the wild hair was gone. I dressed nicer and wow if I din’t get girl had sex by the age of 14 and was living the life. I had a guy helping me out so I could get more drugs and cared for me and helped me up. I did LSD and was amazed a the experiences that brought I new there was something out there a power that I could tap into. Because the thoughts I had, the visions I saw, and it was apart of the natural world. For me to experience my dad join a cult that had some eastern philosophy in it and I was drawn to that and made more since then those stupid Christians that wanted to rule my life and what I said and what I wore. I scorned that God. Then there was another big change my mom moved us to Tampa, FL and boy was that hell. The arm pit of FL. I found some real low life’s there, and called them friends. Until the led me down a path on an LSD trip that got me a broken nose. I washed my hands of them and just did my own thing getting into Ramtha that was Channeled by this lady. Good reading but now I see it for what is was. I went all new age. Read everything that what I thought was opening my eyes but in reality made everything more magical and allowed me to see the energy in all things. We moved again to Orlando. Met some nicer people there but I didn’t do the drugs so much just pot and beer. It seemed everyone there. was I didn’t even get to meet one christian and since I made it to FL it seemed. I lived there partied and had a good live until I was in a car accident with a good friend. He died driving over 100mph and I lived. He worshiped Satan he had their bible. When we went out the night before he was acting crazy hearing voices behind music. But He listen to them and dove off with me, I can only guess on a death wish and want to take me with him. I relaxed in the car ended up in the hospital for 2 days walked out with a banged up with a broken collar bone and some crack rib but. A live I was made at him for trying to take me. But life went on. Didn’t drive so fast and got a job moved out. Partied 2 years after that met my to be wife 2 years after dating and living with each other. Got marred. After that life was boring so I took up sky diving and became a great salesman. Changed careers went back to school got a better job. after being happy for the most part still hiding the pain of my past with drink and pot. I was able to get out under debt. When I did that after 11 years of marriage, I decided to give my wife a kid. so she got pregnant. I figured I would give her a kid and I wasn’t getting any younger. But I was surprised like you wouldn’t believe when 20 weeks later when it was discovered that we were having twins. later on in the pregnancy my wife started what we thought was late term morning sickness. It wasn’t that it was the side effects of fatty liver disease by pregnancy. We went in for on of her last test because of being term. Walking into the hospital was the last time she would walk she died 5 weeks later in ICU. Me a single dad Widowed, with twins. On the day she died I prayed why me? I saw in the clouds appear a man with a yoke on his back I thought it was a cross. But it wasn’t it was a man with two railroad like ties on his back. I knew that was me. I didn’t know what to make of that. It was the first time I prayed I went to church shortly before my kids were born because I knew I wanted them to be brought up not like I was, and it made there mom happy to. I didn’t care I sat there stubborn, not even caring because I herd this crap before. I tried to go back after she died I did for a short time but felt nothing. I left and drank and smoked pot to cover the pain and raised me kids my mom moved in to help. That’s when I new I was in hell. But i did my best Growing ever darker. Drinking and smoking everyday to keep the pain and loss away. It wasn’t until I was given a choice once when was drinking and smoking that I saw my friends in a new light they had taken on the faces of demons. Yes demons I didn’t care but it kind of worried me but not much but then in the same week my mom ran into another lady that new me and she said I have a girl for you but she goes to this church if you want to meet her. I was single so I went I had to sit through service to see if she was there. It was on Job. Long story short she was out of town for 4 weeks she end up being a Kid when I met her. But something else happened. I herd what Job had been through and God put me there and Cracked my heart right open. This stone, this drunk this sinner that threw away god after prayers of my child hood were smashed. I asked if they had some counseling services they said no but they could find someone. They did and I unloaded all of my pain and was taught how to give it to God. I was changed because I reach up just a little and he covered the rest for distance between us. I was told about the road to Emmaus. After that and about 6 months later I was born again for sure. That story tells about Jesus as God. Walk with 2 fellas and it wasn’t until he broke bread, he didn’t eat it. That he appeared to them, and was gone. I have one question for you how many times has he done this in your life. Because he can use anyone any time any place he wishes. Now that’s a God my God. You have done a lot of good in your life, you have a sizable estate where your may have gone. But I chose to go there in your stead. For I believe. May I have your mansion? Because of all the taunting of God that I have done. I know I’m getting the shed out back. By the way I was so excited about that story of Emmaus that I felt he is alive so much so that I felt someone should put a big banner up saying he’s alive. Well there was some road work in my way when i was driving along when I had this thought that took me another way and I past by a church that had across it’s Gate HE’S ALIVE !! and I knew he was guiding my path as it’s still being guided today. Only now the adventure is not a dark pit of sorrow and pain. But it sounds like you have been so blessed you take it for granted.

  13. Hey Brian, computer genius that I am, I can’t find Bob Haggerty’s first post. Can you let me know where it went/is? Thanks man.

    Love ya’ll

    Luke Skyvader.

  14. Donna Hays · · Reply

    Hello Brian,

    We went to college together at FCC – back then I was Donna Meeks. I enjoy reading about your family’s adventures in China since I used to live overseas myself. My husband is Matthew, who posted on here last night.

    I’m not into debating much. I don’t hate you. Yes, it saddens/shocks me to hear about your decision and I have thought about it a lot since I first read your blog post a few days ago. But, honestly, I can’t change your mind. I really don’t have any brilliant words to say. You already know the Bible and you took Evidences and Apologetics in college just like I did. It’s hard for me to understand how this happened, in a way. I do understand how you can get burnt out on ministry to the point that your faith becomes dry and you question it. I’ve been there.

    I just wanted to leave a comment and let you know your family has been on my mind a lot lately. I don’t know what else to say besides that. I’ll be praying for you.

    Donna

  15. Hi Brian,
    I don’t know how or when you will be answering Bob, but I would love to hear your answers as well, since I’ve questioned some of the same conclusions you gave in your FAQ’s as Bob addressed. If you want to paste them and send them to my FB inbox, that’s fine. I know you also have my email address. However is easiest for you.
    Thanks,
    KB

  16. Some of the most beautiful designs come from chaos. Whether or not chaos comes from God is the question.

  17. Hi Brian and April! I stumbled upon this blog by accident the other day when I was looking at April’s pictures on FB. I had been thinking about you both lately and realized I hadn’t seen any posts by April about the move and thought maybe with all the changes to FB lately she had been hidden in my newsfeed. When I searched and found April I realized that we weren’t FB friends anymore 😦 I wasn’t sure why but I looked at all the wonderful pics on your FB page anyway and came across a link to this blog on one of them. I didn’t think much about it so didn’t come here right away. I didn’t see the “what happened to our faith” section until after I had caught up a bit with all that’s going on in China. I haven’t gone to Freshwater for a long time (for various reasons)..so I wasn’t aware of all the struggles you both had been having. As I read both your stories I felt and thought a multitude of things.

    First, I want to let you know that, if you’re both still willing, I’d like to remain friends. If you don’t want to be friends with me because I’m a believer I’d understand. Just know though, I don’t plan on trying to “convert” you back to Christianity or preach to you or quote scripture. I think that our spiritual journey’s are very personal and something only we can ultimately wrestle with. I just think you’re both pretty nice people (always have) and that you have interesting lives (especially now that you’re in China!) and wouldn’t mind keeping in contact.

    Secondly, I really can’t imagine the struggle and pain that you’ve both experienced over the years…this sounds like it was a very difficult process for you both. I hope you don’t mind if I share a part of my personal journey so you can understand that I can relate…at least somewhat. The closest I’ve come to what you’re experiencing, is when I went through a divorce many years ago and concsiously walked away from God. Oh, the church turned its back on me too…however, I didn’t stop believing in God, just in people… anyway I said to God, “I don’t want to follow you anymore, I’m tired of trying and I want to do my own thing, I want to live my life my way” and I did for a time. I guess you could say I excercized my capacity for freewill. This doesn’t feel quite the same as not believing though…I still felt in my heart that he was there waiting for me I just didn’t want to have anything to do with him so I left. When I think about what it would feel like to stop believing (like April’s toothfairy example..and no I’m not equating God with the toothfairly either :)) I think I would I feel sad, alone, disappointed….it would be really earthshattering for me I think…Like most Christians I have doubts now and then….I think most believers do and I think they do themselves disfavor by not being honest (if there is a God he know’s already anyway right?).

    I also felt a little angry…not at you both, but at people who call themselves “Christians” and then stand in their ivory towers and judge others…honestly, Christians can be some of THE most judgemental people on the earth. I could go on about that one, but I’ll spare you…I also felt sad. Sad because, as a believer, it’s always sad to hear that people struggle and lose their faith. I also felt scared. Scared because I thought “Good Lord!, if these two can lose their faith…could I?” I also wanted you to know April, I was always a little envious of you and Brian. Why? I always feel that way (I know something I need to work on :)) when I see two people who have lived a life brought up in a Christian home, never divorced or had “issues” …you guys had it all…a perfect life…the kind that I always wanted….sweet kids, loving friends, faith…I was from the proverbial “other side of the tracks” from you guys….I wasn’t brought up in a Christian home. I wouldn’t even say it was “far from perfect” because it was not. It was actually flat out raging with dysfunction, anger, alcoholism, lies and abuse. I felt a lot of things when I read your story and really just wanted you to know that if you ever want to talk (about anything) I’m here. I know we weren’t close when you lived here, but I realize now that was more my problem of envy and the assumptions I had made about you folks…for that I apologize.

  18. Hi, My name is Mark, I’m a former Atheist who is now a devout apologist for the faith and is also a degree holder in both physics and chemistry. I found stories like yours fascinating, since science lead me to Christ. I have heard many people say that scientific facts lead them away from God. After long conversations over coffee it becomes clear they don’t really understand the science. I’m curious if you would be interested in talking through your views on science?

    P.S. I was directed to this site by a mutual friend who knew you in Winona, and do you know the story of the Big Bang Theory? (By that I mean the many who created it?)

  19. […] The Back Story About UsWhat Happened to Our FaithBob and Brian’s DiscussionWish List The adventures of two 老外, and their […]

  20. As a scientist who is a Christian, I suggest you not use too much science when evaluating faith or the truth of the Bible. For one thing, some scientific theories are corrupt just as the geocentric theory (planets and sun revolve around the Earth) of the solar system is corrupt, but after Galileo demonstrated that the solar system is heliocentric (planets revolve around the sun), he was punished by the Catholic Church on the basis of a verse in the Psalms interpreted to say that the Earth is God’s footstool. We know know that that verse was not being interpreted correctly, and we know that our solar system does revolve around the sun in ways that appear to defy logic based on current scientific thought.

    In like token, the theory of evolution as crafted by Darwin only shows a method for the development of different species within a given genus, and even then, some animals in the same genus can not crossbreed thus eliminating that possibility for evolutionary development by random action. If one wants to apply evolution to the development of animals from one cell organisms or the creation of a universe by completely random action, one must call that the hypothesis of evolution because it can not be proven nor disproven. One can not use evolution to disprove the existence of God.

    Likewise it is difficult to find a compelling way for the universe to have been created by pure random action. Such would be a violation of the third law of thermodynamics that says that one must apply work to a system in order to create order. Otherwise, all systems gradually decay into disorder. The universe in which we live is wonderfully structured in highly ordered ways. I would not be able to understand or practice science were the principles of science orderly.

    While I can not use science to prove or disprove the existence of God, science does suggest that it is more likely some deity created the universe and life, than that a big bang just happened to throw all this matter around in ways that formed stars and planets. Furthermore, the only way some scientists can hypothesize a mechanism for the start of life is to guess there must have been a reducing atmosphere that suddenly became an oxygen rich atmosphere just when aerobic organisms appeared. As someone previously said, “Who triggered the Big Bang?”

    I applaud you for being honest. I wish you well in your journey through life alone. The world is a tough place. I feel blessed that I have a relationship with Jesus that assures me that God is my partner in life. I can feel his action in my life and depend on it. Certainly God is not a bell hop. There are times he lets me stumble, but there are times when I prosper with no reason to expect prosperity except from the hand of God.

  21. The world is a funny place. My family (wife, daughters and I) are moving to TEDA this August to teach. The internet is full of people spouting their beliefs in this and that, but it’s refreshing to hear that not everyone believes in God. 12 years of Catholic school made me the atheist I am today. Non-belief does not make one immoral or unethical. If you have any interest in our families connecting please let me know. We don’t know a soul in China.

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