Another Infidel!

Hey Everyone!

I wanted to thank John Loftus for inviting me to post here. I consider it an honor to be a part of this group. I got into contact with John through Ed Babinski. I have had a good exchange with Ed these past several days since the time he has seen my work in a discussion with the infamous "JP Holding". I am pleased that I have had friendly correspondence with Ed and John. John gave me an indication that he liked what I have written on a Christian discussion forum we both frequent. I am pleased to be acquainted with John considering that he's a seminary graduate and a former student of the Christian philosopher William Lane Craig. I hope to contribute to this blog and I look forward to good, fruitful discussions with our team here! I hope to contribute essays I am working on for review and I even have a website in the planning stages of assembly.


A bit about me. I am nearly 28 years old and I am an atheist. I tried being a Christian for 10 years until a combination of intellectual and emotional skepticism did my faith in. I am the son of an ordained fundamentalist/Evangelical minister. I, too, considered going into the ministry and becoming an apologist when I was a teenager. I was a former YEC, then an OEC, and finally a theistic evolutionist. I credit freethought publications that finally got me to see that the Bible was errant. I ought to post my full deconversion story sometime (and update it in the process!)

I am currently a university student majoring in history with an emphasis in ancient , Greco-Roman classical history. I hope to study history and biblical criticism in graduate school. I'd like to eventually become a Bible scholar so I can help educate others about biblical criticism and work as an educator to help explode fundamentalist myths about the Bible such as inerrancy. I also hope to contribute deeply to the anti-apologetics literature and hope to help inform skeptics and Christians having doubts about their faith and others who aren't sure what to think.

Proud to be a contributor...

Matthew J Green

For Matthew's deconversion story see here.

17 comments:

exbeliever said...

Matthew,

Welcome and glad to have you on board!

It's interesting to me that you want to become a biblical scholar. I had the opportunity to pursue this path shortly after I earned my second seminary degree. The academic dean offered me a job at the seminary as I pursued PhD studies at another nearby theological school. At the time, I was on my way out of the faith and really just wanted to get away from it all.

The Bible still interests me, but I find it so pedantically written that I crave something more "substantial." I admire you for having the patience to stick with that drivel and spend a lifetime studying it.

I look forward to hearing more from you.

jazzycat said...

You said.... "I tried being a Christian"

You either are or you are not. Certainly to study the Bible and be a critical scholar you should be aware of Biblical principles even if you do not believe them. Maybe you meant to say, "I pretended to be a Christian."

Do you believe in a necessary being? (One who cannot 'not be')
If not what is your answer to the following question: Why is there something, rather than nothing?

Bruce said...

jazzycat asks: Why is there something, rather than nothing?

Welcome Matthew.

In case you didn't know, you must have an answer to every question about the universe or you aren't a real atheist, you know, just like you "pretended" to be a Christian :-)

exbeliever said: The Bible still interests me, but I find it so pedantically written that I crave something more "substantial." I admire you for having the patience to stick with that drivel and spend a lifetime studying it.

I could never bring myself to read the Bible either, but then I found a version that was actually readable. It is the Queen Jane's Version by Douglas A. Rankin. It is hard to find but definitely worth it. The guy spent 10 years translating the King James version into something more readable and honest.

streetapologist said...

Matthew-

Well I want to extend you some grace :) but I do have a question or two for you.

First- What does your dad think about your atheism? Are you now estranged from your him?


Second-

You said:
"I, too, considered going into the ministry and becoming an apologist when I was a teenager. I was a former YEC, then an OEC, and finally a theistic evolutionist. I credit freethought publications that finally got me to see that the Bible was errant.

My interest in particular is the second half of this paragraph. You credit "freethought publications" with undermining your belief in the bible, correct?

So x person with x presupposition writes something based on x evidence thereby causing you to doubt the bible, is this about right?

What if x person with x presupposition writing on something based on x evidence was incorrect? For example as you know the Tubingen school questioned the historicity of a people group known as the Hittites. In fact some of these "scholars" claimed emphatically that the Hittites never existed, oh..wait, no now we found records of a society called...you guessed it, the Hittites.

How do you know that "freethought publications" (whichever ones you may have read) were in fact correct? Isn't it at least plausible that they are wrong and the bible is right?

You are basing your opinions of a book based on an opinion of a book/person?

Matthew said...

Jazzycat says "you either are or you are not. Certainly to study the Bible and be a critical scholar you should be aware of Biblical principles even if you do not believe them. Maybe you meant to say, 'I pretended to be a Christian.'"

I say "I tried being a Christian" just to avoid arguments with the self-rightoeus types who indignantly judge apostates by saying "You were never a Christian to begin with!" I seriously thought I was a Christian. I did not mean to say I "pretended". To pretend would be to imply dishonesty and a deliberate intention to fool people into thinking I was a Christian. I believed myself to be a Christian for years. I seriously believed everything that the Church of Christ believed. Which "biblical principles" do you think I should be "aware" of?

Jazzycat continues: "Do you believe in a necessary being? (One who cannot 'not be')
If not what is your answer to the following question: Why is there something, rather than nothing?"

What, pray tell, would be your motive for asking this? Is it simple curiosity or are you looking to bait someone like myself into an argument? I would only, ever respond if it was an honest attempt at inquiry, not to get into an argument with someone who only feigns an interest in understanding my view but whose underlying motive is to try and intellectually bully me into agreeing with their belief system. Be honest here. Why are you asking? Bear in mind that I fully reserve any right to write off anyone whose intention is dishonorable (meaning they want to argue instead of understand and accept)

~Matthew~

Matthew said...

Streetapologist says: "Well I want to extend you some grace :) but I do have a question or two for you."

Thanks for the grace. As for your questions..

Streetapologist continues: First- What does your dad think about your atheism? Are you now estranged from your him?

My dad has a grudging acceptance of it. It wasn't easy for him and my family has seen my evoulution from being a born-again Christian, to being a Deist, an agnostic, and finally an atheist. I am not as close to my dad as I used to be but I guess that's partly because we can't relate on a religious level and even more so on a political level.

Streetapologist continues: Second-

You said:
"I, too, considered going into the ministry and becoming an apologist when I was a teenager. I was a former YEC, then an OEC, and finally a theistic evolutionist. I credit freethought publications that finally got me to see that the Bible was errant.

My interest in particular is the second half of this paragraph. You credit "freethought publications" with undermining your belief in the bible, correct?

So x person with x presupposition writes something based on x evidence thereby causing you to doubt the bible, is this about right?

What if x person with x presupposition writing on something based on x evidence was incorrect? For example as you know the Tubingen school questioned the historicity of a people group known as the Hittites. In fact some of these "scholars" claimed emphatically that the Hittites never existed, oh..wait, no now we found records of a society called...you guessed it, the Hittites.

How do you know that "freethought publications" (whichever ones you may have read) were in fact correct? Isn't it at least plausible that they are wrong and the bible is right?

You are basing your opinions of a book based on an opinion of a book/person?"

I try to examine all arguments very carefully. The freethought publications that I have read could be completely in error. I thought they were right on target at first but I discovered, subsequently, that many of them are in error. This was an original reason for wanting to become a Bible scholar because I realized that, ultimately, it's up to me to determine where the final word of scholarship lies. The "freethought publications" could well be wrong and I may have made a big mistake by trusting many of them uncritically, but I would ask that you not think that if all of freethinking skepticism was in error and that the Bible was shown to be inerrant and inspired that I would become a Christian. I find the Christian faith to be almost deathly repugnant these days and I would rather take my own life than let the Christian deity have it. I'm sorry if this offends people, this is just how I feel and I do not apologize for my feelings about the Christian faith.

~Matthew~

Matthew said...

To all who read....

I am relatively new to these blogs so if anyone sees any bad grammar, any misspellings, or anything that could've been written better- I apologize and ask for a bit more patience as I am just getting the hang of posting here and I am definitely working to carefully edit my posts and try and catch as many spelling and grammatical errors as I can.

~Matthew~

streetapologist said...

Matthew-

Would you say (based on your response) to me that your leaving the faith had more to do with your desire to rid yourself of the Christian God than your skepticism?

I for one am not offended by your post, as it serves to simply solidify my conception that for an atheist his autonomy is God. This is not meant to be offensive, just pointing out the obvious from your post.

I for one appreciate your honesty, I don't think many atheists have the courage to admit this.

streetapologist said...

And I think they hide behind their so called skepticism....this would be consistent with Romans 1:18-25

Albert said...

Matthew's comments about how he would react IF the Bible was true and inerrant is rather interesting. In other words he would reject, rebel against,ignore etc "reality". Yet I bet he would at this time likely chide christians for not facing up to what he believes reality is.
So in the end it seems like he will only "accept" reality if it suits him. I guess he's not one of those atheists who would face reality head on even if it was unpleasant.

John W. Loftus said...

Matthew wrote: I find the Christian faith to be almost deathly repugnant these days and I would rather take my own life than let the Christian deity have it.

Look guys, it's obvious to me that Matthew does not believe in Christianity. It's repugnant to him. That's his point. So in keeping with this point he goes on to state that he'd die before he'd ever become a Christian again.

In other words, he's planning on going to his death before ever becoming a Christian again. And since Christianity is repugnant to him, he would object to it with everything he has to his death.

He's not saying that he stands in rebellion against a God he believes exists. His point is that he dosn't think such a God exists. There is no rebellion against God, only a repugnance to accept that belief system again.

Sheesh...

Matthew said...

Streetapologist says:
Would you say (based on your response) to me that your leaving the faith had more to do with your desire to rid yourself of the Christian God than your skepticism?

Actually I had a mixture of emotional and intellectual skepticism. I had emotional skepticism about the love of the Christian deity and it was intellectual skepticism which finally allowed me to "let go".

Streetapologist: I for one am not offended by your post, as it serves to simply solidify my conception that for an atheist his autonomy is God. This is not meant to be offensive, just pointing out the obvious from your post.

I for one appreciate your honesty, I don't think many atheists have the courage to admit this.

Correction: This is what you interpret from my post. My "autonomy" isn't my god, I try to make reason my "god". I know you're knot trying to be offensive- I will simply let you conclude what you like. If you think it's rebellion, fine. I really couldn't care less.

~Matthew~

Albert said...

Matthew " I try to make reason my "god"."
I would prefer to see reason as a useful tool. To elevate it to the status that you have is an open invitation to serious misuse and abuse.

jazzycat said...

"Which "biblical principles" do you think I should be "aware" of?"

Those of John Calvin, Martin Luther, etc.... also known as reformed theology.

The second point was to simply have you consider a supreme 'necessary' being and not to argue about it.

I can probably guess you and your dad's politics. I have noticed atheists tend to be liberal. Just an observation....

DagoodS said...

streetapologist, in reviewing claims of the Bible being correct/incorrect, I attempt to get to the source as much as possible. You indicate “scholars” (quotes are yours) that “emphatically stated the Hittites never existed…” Can you provide quotes of said scholars? I have had a devil of a time, myself, tracking down these statements, other than myth. The closest I have ever come to is here, and as you can see, the question has not been the existence, but the claimed extent of influence as stated in the Bible. A question that even Biblical scholars seem to agree is valid.

This “Skeptics claim Hittites never existed” appears to be myth.

Thanks.

Matthew said...

Albert writes: Matthew's comments about how he would react IF the Bible was true and inerrant is rather interesting. In other words he would reject, rebel against,ignore etc "reality". Yet I bet he would at this time likely chide christians for not facing up to what he believes reality is.
So in the end it seems like he will only "accept" reality if it suits him. I guess he's not one of those atheists who would face reality head on even if it was unpleasant.

Oh lovely. Albert, please tell me you're not one of these self-righteous know-it-all-types! For your information, I strive to live in peace with everyone! I am very, very respectful of others' beliefs. I consider it very disrespectful and even ethically questionable to chide people for believing something that I don't. I am always willing to share my skepticism with someone if they are interested in hearing of it but I don't argue, I don't ram my skepticism down anyone's throat, nor do I make fun of people who believe differently than I do.

In fact, I consider it very unethical to scoff at what other people believe, whether it's an revealed religion or a superstition. I am very much content to let people believe as they wish! I would never want to harm, challenge, call into question, or destroy the faith of another Christian. I only wish to live in peace with Christians and I am willing to respect their beliefs although not all of them are willing to return the courtesy!

One more thing, I can intellectually accept any concusion I find compelling. I am almost pathologically obsessed with intellectual honesty. If the resurrection really did happen and the Bible is a divinely inspired word of God, then I can accept it intellectually, however repugnant I considered it emotionally.

I get the impression that you consider "facing reality head on" in this context as synomynous with becoming a Christian. Actually, I would face reality by being intellectually honest in concluding the Christian faith was valid if I felt the evidence led to that conclusion, but, but, that doens't mean I have to like any such conclusion such as that entailed by the Christian gospel. I don't have to live with it and I flat out refuse to.

I hope this has made you think twice about my position!

~Matthew~

James Blair said...

Why would you devote yourself to a career in somthing that you do not think is true?

After all, its not as if you are going to be engaging in scholarly investigation of the subject...you have already made up your mind and claim to have all the answers.

Who ya kiddin?