In this post, a gentleman by the name of David Poehlein has been asking why anyone would spend their time discussing a belief they don't hold. He also did what many other Christian commenters have done here as well, dismissed our past faith.
I consider the following an open letter to all who do so.
Do you not notice how presumptuous you are being here?
You come into a forum in which the writers describe a gut-wrenching journey away from faith and you write:
I do not believe that people "lose" faith. I believe they never had it. Maybe they wanted it or convinced themself they had it, but never did.
So, you come in and invalidate all of our experience.
You were no part of my journey. You don't know what it is like to see your faith slowly drained from you. To fight, kicking and screaming, to maintain it. To cry, pray, seek counsel, force yourself into a Church, pray some more, cry some more.
I am/was an ordained minister. From five-years-old until thirty, I believed that Jesus died for my sins and was the love of my life. Never, for one second, during all of that time could I have imagined that I would ever be anything other than a Christian.
I didn't want to leave the Church; I loved it. I loved preaching, singing, praying, teaching, the Bible, seminary, all of it. I stayed, for a while, even after my faith was gone, just because I couldn't imagine life without it. It was horrific.
And, then, you bop in here and flippantly dismiss everything I experienced. You say it was all a delusion. Well, pardon me for not running to embrace what you have to say.
You keep asking why we/I would spend time on Christianity after leaving it.
There are a lot of reasons why I post. One is compassion. I don't like to see people brain-washed and hurt by any religion. Another reason is political. Christianity has become a political organization attempting to impose Christian "morality" (if you can call it that) on everyone else. So, I care about individuals, and I care about government. That's why I write.
What if you are wrong, David? I never thought I could be. I got a degree in biblical studies from a very conservative Bible college, a master of arts in theology from the largest Evangelical seminary in the country, and a master of divinity from the tenth largest Evangelical seminary in the country. I was an associate pastor in four different churches. I was ordained, "called" to be a church planter by a large denomination, and given a large grant to do so. I never expected to spend my life any other way than in service of Jesus. I didn't have a suspicion during all of that time that one day, I would be at this point. I was you on many occasions. I came into these kind of forums and actually attempted to give reasons for my faith, and most of the time, I would more than hold my own.
How do you know that you will endure David? How do you know that one day you won't be here on the other side?
I believed Jesus' words, "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. . . And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day."
Do you know how many times I lay face-down on my floor crying to heaven for God to fulfill this promise? Do you know how many times I screamed the prayer of that helpless father in Mark 9:24, "I do believe; help my unbelief"?
Will that be you one day, David? Will you be grasping onto whatever faith you can muster, begging God for help in your unbelief? How do you know, David? How do you know?
The apostle Paul wrote, "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall." Do you think you stand, David?
Maybe, David, you should be concerned about your own reasons for faith. Maybe instead of entering forums and writing off peoples' experiences without knowing anything about them, you should take the time and examine your faith. You should think about why you believe and why your belief is correct and why the beliefs of the vast majority of individuals who have ever walked this earth are wrong. It is very presumptuous, indeed, to come here unable to "give an account for the hope that is in you," to dismiss the beliefs of most of the people who have ever lived and who ever will live on this earth.
Why don't you do this? Why don't you explain to us why your belief is true? Why don't you say something besides the dogma of your religion? Any Buddhist, Muslim, or believing Jew could do that. They could come in and spout their dogma. If your faith is "true," you should be able to explain why, right? Why don't you let that be your method instead of presuming to know us and simply dismiss what we have to say? We welcome your reasons. We welcome a rational defense of your faith. Try us, okay?