On Leaving Christianity...All Religion

That was the title of an email from Casey S. Smith. With his permission here is what he wrote:
Since April 6th, 1997 I've been serving Christ. I have studied and visited just about every Church in Christendom. I went to Criswell Seminary for three years, studied Church History, but my main passion was textual criticism. However after almost 16 years of trying to find "The Truth" I'm done. There are apologists for every Christian denomination including those considered "cults" or "heresy". Every denomination says they have the truth using the same Bible. My question to you however is how does one live at peace or in tranquility without a God? What meaning does life have? Or worse, what if we're wrong and there is a resurrection and us "wicked" are separated from this loving God?

Sincerely: One who is scared and burnt out!
Mr. Casey S. Smith
I responded as follows.

Hi Casey,

Thanks for writing. I know the pain all too well. Like any surgery or trauma the pain will subside with time. This too will pass. From now on you will have to think for yourself. That's a daunting task since you didn't have to do so when you believed God had a blueprint for your life. But it's freeing. You will learn to like the freedom you now have to decide how to live your life. In many ways it won't be different, trust me. You'll miss all the "drama" at church and be better for it. You'll miss the guilt trips for thinking and questioning and doubting, and be better for it. You'll miss people telling you what God wants you to do, which is just what they want disguised as a command from God, and you'll be better for it.

I've written a few things to help people like you.

As to hell, we KNOW hell comes from the superstitious mythical past. It's nothing more than a cradle to grave empty threat. Just think, how much do you fear Allah's threat of hell? Ever given it a thought? Yet you have lived your whole life up to this point risking it. Muslims take that threat just as seriously as you do the Christian hell. Once we realize we're risking one hell without any fear they all look like someone crying wolf too many times.

Read Alan Berstein's book The Formation of Hell: Death and Retribution in the Ancient and Early Christian Worlds.

Do you fear Satan? The same thing applies. He too is a creation from the superstitious mythical mind. Muslims have their own demons and yet you have never feared them either.

Read Wray & Mobley's book The Birth of Satan: Tracing the Devil's Biblical Roots.

As to living life without God read the following books and decide for yourself:

Greg Epstein's Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe.

A.C. Grayling's Meditations for the Humanist: Ethics for a Secular Age.

Walter Sinnott Armstrong's Morality Without God?

Dan Barker's The Good Atheist: Living a Purpose-Filled Life Without God.

Richard Taylor's Virtue Ethics: An Introduction.

Peter Singer's How Are We to Live?: Ethics in an Age of Self-Interest.

I hope this helps you with your present mental angst.

Best wishes,
John W. Loftus


Perhaps others can offer some additional advice since Casey will be reading.