Adam Vigansky Deconverts, Writes Excellent Letter Explaining To Family & Friends Why He Did

Dear friends,

I want to let you know about some important things which have transpired in my life over the past four years. But before I begin, I only ask that you read the entirety of this letter before replying to me, if you do. As you know, I was a devoted believer in Christianity. I was raised in a very religious environment. I went to a Christian school. I was in church a few times a week. At the age of twenty I made a serious commitment to Jesus Christ. I soon moved to Pensacola, FL to earn a degree from the Brownsville Revival School of Ministry (now called F.I.R.E. School of Ministry). I went on mission trips to Uganda, Kenya and Greece. I toured Israel and Jordan. I lead street evangelism teams for two years in Pensacola. I was an active part of the Evangelism Team at my home church. After that, I married, moved to Kansas City, MO. to be a part of a house church plant team. We were actively a part of this for seven years and having four amazing children along the way.

From the age of twenty, I developed a love for the Bible because I believed it was the infallible, inerrant, holy word of God. What could be more fascinating than a book that came to humanity from the Creator Himself? So, apart from my education at the Bible school, I regularly studied the entire Bible. I learned to read and write Hebrew. But I only understood enough Hebrew to teach Sunday school, scare off Jehovah Witnesses and perform Jewish holiday rituals with my friends and family. I would read commentaries many times over. I collected and read a library of books about God and the Bible. In short, I treated the Bible for what it claimed to be: the very words of God. I truly had strong faith in the Bible and in God.

During that time I gained a wealth of life experience learning what the Christian life actually is, both in community oriented house church and the more traditional denominational styled churches. I enjoyed poring over the teachings of Dr. Michael L. Brown, Art Katz, David Stern, Mike Bickle, Lee Stroble, Josh McDowell, Craig Keener, Walter Kaiser, F. F. Bruce, Henry Morris, and many other authors. I would regularly read articles from the monthly publication of Creation Research Institute. I loved watching Kent Hovind Creationist videos, memorizing their content. Over time, my understanding of the Bible grew and developed. It took years, but eventually, I came to the unfortunate realization that most people were not interested in any serious study of the Bible. When confronted with information that is new or different than what they already believed to be true, people typically viewed that information, and the speaker, with suspicion or disbelief. From what I experienced, facts didn’t matter, logic didn’t matter. Nothing mattered to most people except what they were raised to believe or what their church does or does not teach.

This pushed me to investigate what caused this behavior. I discovered that there were proven neurological and psychological explanations for this. As it turns out, it has been “hard wired” into our brains to believe in things without evidence and to reject information that runs contrary to what we believe. We are also designed to believe what our trusted leaders have taught us. Today, we ‘inherit’ our beliefs from our church, our parents, or our culture. Believing what we’re taught and not trusting strangers, not eating what your parents tell you not to eat and doing what you’re told; these can all protect us from many dangers. Believing and having faith paid off. This makes sense considering that in the ancient past a person who fled from a rustling in the bushes because he possessed a healthy fear of danger was likely to live long enough to pass on his genes to future generations. Conversely, someone who didn’t believe that the source of the noise was dangerous would have been far more likely to be killed by a predator the time when it actually was one. Blindly believing what your elders taught you and having a creative, believing imagination would prove to be a life saver in many situations. Hence, the genetic coding for belief, fear and faith naturally became dominant traits in the human population.

Being that the Bible teaches that a person must have faith in the gospel in order to be saved, I developed an interest in the psychology and science of how the human mind goes about believing in something. This is the most important function of the human mind. After all, eternity in heaven or in hell depended on believing.

After studying the Bible and Creationism for years, in my spare time I began online discussions with people on C.A.R.M (Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry). One day I joined a discussion thread about evolution versus Creationism instead of my usual discussions about eschatology or ecclesiology. Having a thorough background in Creationism, I couldn’t imagine how anyone could reject the idea. That fateful day introduced me to a whole new world- a world where real science challenged my views of the Bible.

I began talking to scientists. They were willing to cordially, thoroughly and successfully refute every single Creationist claim that I could throw at them. They directed me to websites designed to help people who were indoctrinated with Creationism. So I carefully read every single entry in The Talk Origins Archive. Then I began reading reputable books that explained the evidences for the theory of evolution and the Big Bang. A paradigm shift that began in my mind. I was shocked that so many Creationists were flat out ‘lying for Jesus.’ I couldn’t deny the reality that the evidence all pointed to the truth of the theory of evolution and the Big Bang being accurate and fair descriptions of the world. These beautiful explanations weren’t fictitious fairy tales as I was taught. But Creationism indeed was a fairy tale. It was undeniable. I felt embarrassed. Admitting this to other Christians made me feel a bit alienated from them. Some were concerned and thought that I was misled or distracted by frivolity.

Eventually I found a reasonable way of interpreting the Genesis creation account as divinely inspired mythology intended to explain the world to Bronze Age and Iron Age audiences. But that left me with insurmountable problems trying to figure out what I was to think of the rest of the Bible. Since God clearly allowed for fictitious mythology to be one style of literature he spoke through, where did the fiction end and the historical record begin? This lead me to search until I found reasonable answers. What exactly is it that I am having faith in? And if Christianity is so reasonable, why is faith necessary at all?

It was while studying I came to a startling realization. I had never applied the same truth tests to my own beliefs that I had to those of other religions! This is why I fell for Creationism in the first place. Whenever I talked to Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons, I would challenge them to test their beliefs. “If something is true, you don’t have to be afraid questioning it.” I would tell them, “If something is really true, it will stand up to testing.”

In my walk with the Lord, I strove to live a life of holiness– rejecting false doctrines and practices which didn’t line up with my understanding of God’s word and avoiding being a gullible follower who is “swept to and fro by every wind of doctrine.” Eph 4:14. What I hadn’t ever done, though, was to critically examine and test the foundation of my own faith – the Bible. Being raised as a Christian, from childhood, I had always accepted that it was the inspired, inerrant, revealed Word of God. I realized if I were to be thoroughly prepared to make a defense of my faith (as the Bible commands believers to do in 1 Thes. 5:21, 2 Tim. 2:15, and 1 Pet. 3:15), both to those who claimed to have other authoritative holy books (such as the Book of Mormon or the Quran) and to skeptics and atheists who rejected all holy books, then I needed to be prepared with answers. I needed to make a thorough examination of how we know that the Bible was indeed God’s revelation to humanity. I needed to apply the same tests that I would use to show people of other faiths that their sacred writings were not inspired by God:

Are the events it describes supported by historical and archeological evidence?

Is it internally consistent and without error or contradiction?

Are its prophecies and promises clearly fulfilled?

Does it correctly explain the world in light of what we know to be true from science?

Does it have characteristics that only a divinely inspired book could have or not?

Is its revelation unique or does it borrow from other religions or philosophies?

Does it provide satisfactory evidence for the extraordinary claims it makes?

Does it provide clear, objective moral standards?

Does it reveal a God worthy of worship?

In other words, if I was a complete outsider, trying to decide between the different religions and their holy books, would the Bible pass the tests and stand alone as being a true and trustworthy communication from God? As I re-examined the Bible, I was completely confident that it would stand the test and clearly prove itself to be God’s revealed word. As a result I would be better equipped to make a bold defense of the faith to those who asked. I felt encouraged by certain statements in the Bible. “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth.” John 16:13. “For God did not give us a spirit of fear…” 2 Tim. 1:7. There was nothing to fear and every reason to expect to discover amazing truths. “Seek and ye shall find.” I decided to investigate the claims of science, the occult and other faiths because they were the “strongholds” of Satan that so successfully enslaved so many people.

Imagine how I felt as my studies began to reveal the exact opposite of my expectations. In fact, the Bible eventually failed in every area of testing. It was as if I had begun pulling on a loose thread which ultimately unraveled the whole sweater. Before this, I honestly never had even one doubt about the Bible being God’s perfect revelation to us, not even for a moment. It was relatively easy to see the errors of other religions and their holy books. I even had a number of dramatic religious experiences that seemed to validate my faith. “Experiencing God” through sensational feelings and emotional experiences was something that I could honestly say happened to me many times. But that wasn't nearly enough. It made no sense to me that other Christians had little or no interest in the Bible or apologetics. Didn’t they believe that Almighty God gave us a perfect book? What could be more interesting than that? What better way to strengthen our faith than to prove its truth?

Even though I benefited from my education and personal studies, they had failed to provide satisfactory answers for the things which began to trouble me. In 2010, when I realized that I had been applying a different standard of truth to my own faith, I was faced with a choice: suppress all my questions, or begin to ask the questions and follow the truth wherever it led. I chose to pursue truth. After all, 1 Thes. 5:21 admonishes us to “test everything” and Acts 17:11 praises the Bereans for examining the Scriptures to see if what Paul said was true. 2 Thes. 2:10 speaks of people perishing because they “refused to love the truth.” It was the right thing to do. "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Tim. 2:15.

I came to the place where I felt that the only reasonable course of action was to once and for all to seriously consider and test the atheists’ claims against my faith, the claims of science and the claims of the occult. I began a deliberate and intense study of how the Old Testament and New Testament scriptures came to be collected into the Bible. I explored the conflict between scientific evidence and the creation and flood accounts, the early history of Christianity, the way the gospels agreed and differed in their accounts of the life of Jesus, the beliefs of other ancient cultures which the Hebrews came in contact with, historical and archeological evidence for the biblical stories and the way that the Old and New Testaments differed, both in their portrayal of God, and their concepts of the afterlife.

I also listened to numerous debates between leading Christian apologists and skeptics. I was shocked that the apologists seemed to never once actually prove a point. Why couldn’t they? The Holy Spirit is supposed to give us the words to say. I was rooting for the losers (Christian apologists) every single time. I bought a host of books and read through them all. Michael Shermer, Ian Tattersall, Sam Harris, Stephen Hawking, Richard Dawkins, Eugenie Scott, Daniel Dennett, Victor Stenger, Gerald L. Schroeder and others were the authors that I read.

I went back through the Bible and began reading with deliberately “fresh eyes,” noticing mounting problems which I had somehow ignored, justified or glossed over for years. My pursuit of the truth was leading to conclusions which I never expected might be true: The Bible was not an inspired revelation of God. Instead, it is a contradictory collection of books written by very human authors, each with their own viewpoints and agendas, each edited and redacted by later authors. Many biblical writers disagreed with what others had written. For example, in Galatians, Paul teaches salvation by faith alone, not by works or obeying God’s Torah/Law. In contrast, Jesus, James, and the author of Revelation all clearly teach that our standing with God and our eternal destination is based on works, and keeping God’s Law (Matt. 5:19, Matt. 25:31-46, Mark 10:18-25, James 2:24, Rev. 20:11-12). Furthermore, in Acts 17:30, Paul claims “In the past God overlooked people’s ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.” But in Romans 1: 18-32, Paul spells out just how God has always held all people accountable for their faith and obedience or lack thereof since the beginning of Creation. No one was ignorant of God. Rom. 1:19. They can't both be correct.

The God presented in the Bible (especially the Old Testament) is a frequently angry, violent and genocidal tyrant who causes far more suffering and death than what is attributed to the Devil. “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” -Richard Dawkins. These words are very harsh, but I began to realize that they were also very true. If you don’t believe me, read through the first five books of the Old Testament again. Do a body count. The “anger of the Lord” is mentioned nearly two hundred times in the Old Testament! If there’s one thing God is consistent with, it’s overreacting to sin. For example, Adam and Eve disobeyed one trivial command not to eat certain fruit, and God curses suffering and death onto the entire human race for all time. David takes a census and as punishment God kills thousands of innocent Israelites (Or was it Satan? There are two conflicting versions of the story). God behaved more like a child flying into a rage and knocking over his toys; wiping out all living things (Noah’s flood), wanting to wipe out the people of Israel (Moses had to calm God down and talk Him out of it in Exod. 32:9-14,) or killing tens of thousands of his beloved Israelites whenever they offended Him. Also, God routinely ordered the slaughter of innocent men, women, children, babies, and even animals – as the Israelites invaded the Promised Land. The only ones who were spared were the virgin girls who would become the property of Israelite men. In the Bible, women are chattel- especially non-Israelite women.

The Bible says that God will resurrect all the sinners to be thrown bodily in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:10) where they will be tormented without ceasing for eternity in the presence of Jesus and the angels. “The smoke of their torment will rise up before Him continually (Rev. 14:10-11).” In Revelation 9, God practices torture by allowing demonic scorpion like creatures to cause people agonizing suffering for 5 months. At the same time, He prevents people from dying as an escape. Next, God causes the death of 1/3 of mankind – by the current population of the planet that would be about 2 billion people!

Even gentle Jesus, meek and mild, regularly preached threats about a fiery Hell and its torments which awaited those who refused to believe in him, or to obey him, something foreign to every single author of the old Testament. In the book of Revelation, Jesus is symbolically depicted as returning to Earth with a sword coming out of his mouth, and his robe soaked in his enemies’ blood. By the end of chapter 19, his slaughter has amassed multitudes of corpses that vultures gorge themselves on. In chapter 14, the blood of the dead whom God slaughtered flows as high as a horse’s bridle. The book of Revelation is an orgy of violence and divine vengeance. Just like the “Christian” torturers of the Inquisition, God afflicts people with a variety of horrible punishments to try to get them to change their beliefs and worship Him. Of course an all-knowing God would already know that that they would not change, so the torture serves no purpose other than indulging God’s overbearing fury. And yet John 3:17 ironically says of Jesus, "God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” The God of Revelation has the worst traits of Hitler, Kim ll Sung, Pol Pot, Joseph Stalin and Osama Bin Laden all rolled into one. Hitler’s ovens burned the dead bodies and were finite, but God’s fiery ovens burn His living victims for eternity. According to Christian beliefs, both Hitler and his ‘unsaved’ Jewish victims will be roasting together in the endless torments of Hell! Think about it. Is that a good God? Is this justice?

God would also manipulate people by provoking them to actions (2 Samuel 24:1) or hardening their hearts, so that He could bring judgment upon them (Pharaoh.) God could have easily freed Israel from Egypt’s slavery by killing Pharaoh when he refused to let them go. But Exodus says that God “hardened Pharaoh’s heart” so that He could “deal harshly with the Egyptians (Exodus 10:1-2).” He causes people to believe lies (2 Thessalonians 2:11) and causes prophets to utter lies (1 Kings 22:23.) As the book of Job exemplifies, people are nothing but pawns for God to toy with in his narcissistic games of proving himself to the devil.

Playing favorites with the Patriarchs, God would often punish the innocent while overlooking the sins of the guilty. Consider 2 Samuel 2 where David sins with Bathsheba. As punishment, God decrees that David’s innocent wives will be publicly raped and then He kills Bathsheba’s innocent baby. But the Law commands that David ought to have been stoned to death for adultery and murder. David was never directly punished. On two occasions (Genesis 12 & 20), Abraham lies about his wife Sarah, passing her off as his sister. But God punishes the people whom Abraham deceived and never once reprimanded Abraham for lying. In Genesis 26, Isaac pulls the same exact scam and God does not judge him for lying either. In Noah’s flood, God kills all the animals on earth as well as all the people except the few on the ark, and when the Israelites went into the Promised Land, He often ordered them to kill the innocent animals in the cities they would conquer. Were the animals sinners too? In Genesis 9, Noah gets drunk and passed out naked and God said nothing about it. But his son Ham tells his brothers about it and as a result Noah curses all Ham’s descendants with being slaves. Talk about over doing it! “Righteous” Lot offers his daughters to the men of the town to be raped, and then later they each commit incest with their drunken father. Yet there was not a word from God about these sins, and yet Lot’s wife looks over her shoulder while fleeing Sodom’s destruction and is punished by God and turned into a pillar of salt (Gen.19). Which is worse – lying, drunkenness, offering your daughters to be gang raped by strangers, incest, or looking over your shoulder? It is human curiosity to look when something unusual is happening – such as an accident on the side of the road. Lot’s wife is punished with death by salt (?) simply for being inquisitive.

In the Bible, women are typically treated especially harshly by God. Women always seem to be a source of trouble for men in the Bible. A woman was blamed for leading Adam astray. Women have more divinely sanctioned laws with capital punishment applicable to them and not to men which call for their stoning, burning them alive, and medically dangerous forced abortions (Num. 5:11-31). Women are chattel. Read Exodus 21 again and imagine living in a inhumane, brutal, barbaric society such as is described there. Is selling your daughters as sex slaves (Exod. 21:7-11), human trafficking (verses 1-11) and beating your slaves within an inch of their lives (verses 20-21) to be considered the highest possible moral standard that could only have come from an infinitely wise and loving God? Absolutely not. What Christian today would approve of slavery?

In the Old Testament, God is spoken of as if He has a body and as if He has limited knowledge, and other human traits. For example, He has to ‘go down’ to see the tower of Babel. Later he goes down to see if Sodom is really as bad as He has heard. He apparently doesn’t know whether it is or not; “Then the LORD said, "The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know." (Gen. 18:20) Yahweh eats dinner with Abraham and bargains with him (Gen. 18.) He wrestles with Jacob and cannot best him (Gen. 32:22-30.) Apparently annoyed that Moses has not circumcised his son, Yahweh meets him as he travels to Egypt to carry God’s message to Pharaoh, and tries to kill him (Exod. 4)! His capitol offense? Not circumcising his son. Fortunately Moses is saved by the actions of his quick-thinking wife who then apparently leaves Moses in a fit of anger. She saved him by circumcising his adult son. The irony is, that in verse 19 of this same chapter, God had told Moses that it was safe to go back to Egypt since all the men who wanted to kill him are dead. Then, a little while later, God Himself tries to kill him! What the Bible says about God is often in gross conflict with what Christians now believe about Him.

Most of the Old Testament ‘history’ of Israel is not supported by archeological and historical evidence – rather it is in fact contradicted by it. Archeologists can’t even agree on what century the Exodus was supposed to have happened – there is no evidence whatsoever for the Exodus and yet several million Hebrews were supposed to have camped in a certain desert for 40 years. Then Israel conquered numerous cities in Canaan. Some of these cities which Israel is said to have conquered didn’t even exist yet in the general time frame when the Exodus is supposed to have happened. Others were gone long before they were supposedly ‘conquered’ by Israel. Again, no evidence of a conquest exists as there ought to be plenty. The Biblical ‘history’ of Israel often bears more resemblance to fantastical folk tales. Like the insecure child who brags about grossly inflated claims of his accomplishments, the Old Testament writers also made inflated claims about their nation’s history in order to elevate their nation’s status. This is evident when comparing different biblical accounts of the same events. The later written account contains inflated numbers and exaggerated events. Some of the Old Testament historical writings which are parallel accounts contain contradictory claims about the same event. For example, who killed Goliath? Was it David (1 Sam. 17:50) or Elhanan (2 Sam. 21:19)? Did Saul inquire of the Lord (1 Sam. 28:6) or not (1 Chron. 10:13-14)? Does Satan inspire David to take a census (1 Chron. 21:1) or does God (2 Sam. 24:1)? Did Asa remove the high places (2 Chron. 14:2) or not (1 Kings 15:14)? These kinds of contradictions show that the Old Testament contains ‘historical’ writings compiled from sources which disagreed with each other.

The New Testament only fares slightly better in that certain names, locations and buildings have been archaeologically confirmed. But, Roman and Jewish records of the time either contradict or fail to mention the most important events in the gospels. There is no archeological evidence for the census in Jesus’ birth narrative, no evidence for Herod killing the infant boys in Bethlehem, no evidence that a ‘star’ ever appeared that could somehow point to one house in Bethlehem and lead people all the way from far off from Persia to Jesus' front door. And no extra-biblical evidence for Jesus healing multitudes of people on a regular basis. In fact, Jesus was one of a host of men who were heralded as Messiahs in first century Judea.

The Jewish religion changed and adapted over the course of their history, and was heavily influenced by the pagan beliefs of the nations they came in contact with. There is convincing archeological evidence that the Jews embraced a form of polytheism (called monolatry – believing other gods existed, but Yahweh was the only one they were to worship) for much of the Old Testament, moving eventually to the belief in the existence of only one God, which was enforced in the Second Temple era under King Josiah. Before that, archeology and a few places in Genesis strongly hint that God originally had a consort/wife named Asherah, whose idols found all over Israel date to the centuries before King Josiah's reforms. “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness… So God created man in his own image… male and female he created them.” (Gen 1:26-27). Interestingly, one of the Hebrew names for God, El, was the name of the head god of their Canaanite neighbors’ pantheon of gods. El had a son called Baal and a wife named Asherah who is mentioned in the Old Testament also. Pure monotheism occurred very late in Israel’s Old Testament history.

The Creation and Flood accounts in the Bible are clearly retellings of even more ancient Babylonian stories which have been discovered in the last century. Look up The Epic of Gilgamesh and the story of Atra-Hasis and be amazed. The Israelites would have come into contact with these stories during their Babylonian exile and captivity – interestingly this is the same time period in which most scholars think that much of the Old Testament was written – around the 6th century before Jesus. This explains why Exodus and Joshua have their history and geography all confused.

The authors of the New Testament appropriated the Jewish religion and scriptures in much the way that Joseph Smith would later hijack Christianity and Bible to start Mormonism; building on it, adding new ‘revelations’ and reinterpreting the previous beliefs. Christianity was also influenced by pagan religions, freely borrowing from the Greeks and Romans, and later coinciding Christian holidays with pagan festivals. Christianity itself has changed and adapted over the centuries also. Originally it looked much different and had more disparate doctrines than it does now. The discovery of the ancient manuscripts in the Nag Hammadi library, Paul’s frequent diatribes against other apostles and gospels, and the attacks on various “heretical sects” in the writings of the early church fathers show that early Christianity contained many competing gospels and varying ideas about Jesus. Eventually, certain writings and views of Jesus became dominant and the others were marginalized or destroyed. This process took centuries before there was a distinct “orthodox” Christian doctrine or New Testament of any kind.

The gospel accounts of the life of Jesus often contradict each other in key areas regarding chronology of events and details of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus. For example, Matthew claims that Joseph and Mary already lived in Bethlehem before the birth of Jesus. After the visit from the Magi, they fled to Egypt to escape Herod. After Herod’s death, they moved to Nazareth because Joseph was afraid to live in Judea. Conversely, In Luke, they live in Nazareth, and go to Bethlehem because of a census (which was not included in any of the historians' records of the day). After performing the temple ceremonies for their newborn son, they return to Nazareth to live. No trip to Egypt as in Matthew. Were Matthew and Luke trying to make Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem (to fulfill prophecy) and still admit that Jesus was from Nazareth?

For more contradictions, compare the resurrection accounts: who went to Jesus’ tomb, what did they see there and what did they do after that. Each gospel clearly gives different, conflicting, irreconcilable details. It is therefore evident that the gospel writers cannot be trusted to give us accurate information about Jesus. These conflicting accounts cannot all be true - at least some of them must be false. If God had inspired the Bible, wouldn’t He also make sure that writers got their stories straight in the most important details? I challenge you to examine and compare the resurrection accounts. You will see what I am saying to be true.

Paul, who wrote much of the New Testament and shaped the core of Christian theology, never even claimed to have met Jesus. According to Galatians chapter one, after his conversion, Paul didn’t even meet with any of the Apostles until 13 years later when he spent two weeks with Peter, and met James. Paul claims that he received his revelation and apostleship directly by revelations from Jesus. Now contrast this with Acts 1:21 where the criterion for picking a replacement for Judas was to be a man who had actually been with Jesus and the disciples during the whole time of his ministry. Why would God pass over the disciples who had lived with Jesus, observing his life and ministry, and instead choose a complete stranger in another country with no firsthand knowledge of Jesus, to shape Christianity and write most of the New Testament? More importantly, why didn’t Jesus prophesy details of Saul’s conversion: the calling of an outsider to be the Apostle to the Gentiles and to expound the hidden mysteries of the new faith? This would have prepared the disciples to accept Paul, reduced the conflict between Paul’s gospel and the practices of the Jerusalem church, and it would have been a powerful prophetic proof to the early believers. Jesus predicted the coming of the Holy Spirit but not the coming of Paul. And if the New Testament is to be believed, Paul was far more successful than the Holy Spirit was at guiding believers into truth, John 16:13.

The ‘proofs’ of biblical inspiration and of Jesus’ divinity are all dependent upon circular reasoning. The fact that biblical writers claimed they were speaking for God is not proof that they actually were, any more than Joseph Smith’s claim that he was restoring the true faith proves the Book of Mormon is inspired. People often fail to recognize that just because the gospels say that Jesus said or did something, doesn’t prove that Jesus actually said or did it. It just means that’s what the gospel writers are claiming. Let’s be honest. We have absolutely no corroboration of these stupendous claims outside the writings of those who were founding the Christian religion.

There is one passage in Flavius Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews which alludes to Jesus being the Messiah and being raised from the dead, but this is not quoted by any of the early Christian writers in their attempts to persuade pagans (as they surely would have if that passage was in the original, unedited writings of Josephus), and Origen flatly states that Josephus did not regard Jesus as the Messiah. This being the case, it is unlikely that Josephus would have referred to Jesus in such manner, casting serious doubt on the authenticity of the passage. Thus, many scholars (including a reputable theologian who taught me in Bible school) think that Christian scribes added their own thoughts when hand copying Josephus. The earliest reference to this disputed passage is in 324 AD.

The doctrines of hell, a final judgment, the apocalypse and a spiritual battle with an evil Devil and his army of fallen angels do not originate from divine revelation, but were obviously introduced to the Jews by the Persian Zoroastrian religion, during their exile there. This is why the parts of the Old Testament written in earlier times and in other places contain no such teachings. Through much of the Old Testament, the Hebrews did not believe in an afterlife or a judgment after death. Good and evil, blessing and curses, sickness and health all came from God and were administered in this life. When they were conquered, it was not because the God of Israel was weak against the other gods, but that he was punishing the Hebrews for their unfaithfulness. By the time of Jesus, this view had changed. Contact with Babylonian, Persian and Greek cultures had radically altered the Hebrews’ worldview. It came to be believed that people had immortal souls (contrary to Eccles. 9:5), and sickness and suffering came from the Devil who persecuted God’s people in this life. There would be a resurrection and a final judgment. Reward or punishment would come in the afterlife. The world would end in a fiery apocalypse. The Sadducees, who held to the original Jewish beliefs, did not accept this new idea of a resurrection and were more in line with Jewish beliefs in the older Old Testament times. Jewish thought incorporated concepts like Hades and Tartarus from Greek mythology and these were added into the New Testament, even retaining their Greek names! Hades was the god of Tartarus, the horrible underworld of the wicked dead, hell. Remember all the teachings about heaven and hell, salvation and eternity in the Old Testament? Neither do I.

The Apocryphal Book of Enoch heavily influenced Jewish thinking in the two centuries before Jesus, and also shaped Christian thinking in the decades after Jesus. This book elaborates on the angelic “Sons of God” in Genesis 6, claiming to reveal details of their sexual coupling with human women (again, women are the source of trouble), their teaching the arts of makeup and adornment, spell-casting, weapon-making and other forbidden arts. Supposedly the monstrous giant offspring of these sexual unions (the Nephilim) were the reason God destroyed the Earth with a flood. According to Enoch, when the giants were killed in the Flood their spirits were released upon the Earth, and are free to roam around oppressing and tormenting people as unclean spirits (demons) until the final judgment. The angels who sinned were imprisoned in chains of darkness, in the Earth. Jude 1:6 refers to this, as does 2 Peter 2:4. Jude 1:14-15 directly quotes from Enoch. It is interesting to note that Jude, 2 Peter, and Revelation (all influenced by the Book of Enoch) were disputed or rejected by Christians, as not genuinely inspired, as the early church historian Eusebius notes. By the mid to late fourth century, enough Christians had accepted these books that they were included in the canon of what was considered inspired Scripture. The Book of Enoch was widely accepted during the first three centuries of Christianity, as evidenced by many writings of the church Fathers which quote from it. Bishop Tertullian called it “Scripture” and defended its legitimacy based in the fact that Jude quotes from it. Eventually Enoch was rejected from the ‘official’ canon of Scripture, although it remains part of the Ethiopian Orthodox Bible.

Scholars believe that the gospels were written over a range of 30 to 70+ years after the death of Jesus. The earliest preserved copy we have is a small fragment of the Gospel of John which dates around 100 years after the death of Jesus. The next partial copies date 200 years after Jesus. The next earliest complete manuscript copies date from the mid 3rd century. Due to these time gaps, there is no way to know whether the information contained in the gospels about Jesus is accurate, whether they were even written by people who knew Jesus (the average lifespan was around 40 years at that time), or whether they are accurate copies of the original writings. Considering the fact that each gospel writer seems to have his own agenda in the way Jesus is portrayed, and that the gospels contradict each other in important ways, they certainly don’t seem trustworthy. The supposed ‘fulfillments of prophecy’ consist of the Gospel writers taking Old Testament scriptures out of context, and then telling the Jesus story in such a way as to show them ‘coming to pass.’ Matthew is so intent on presenting Jesus as fulfilling scripture, that he makes a revealing mistake. He misunderstands Zech. 9:9 and has Jesus riding on two animals – a donkey and her colt, due to his using the different wording of the Greek Septuagint instead of the Hebrew Torah because he obviously couldn’t read Hebrew. The other three gospels say that he rode on one animal. This is a clear example of the writings in the Bible being of human origin. Not one gospel or Acts explains the atonement. Not one gospel nor Acts explains any “plan of salvation” either. These things obviously came later from Paul.

When comparing all of the ancient manuscripts of the New Testament it is clear that there are no two copies that are the same. Numerous types of copyist errors are the rule, not the exception. Verses and words are added, deleted, altered and reworded to fit the intentions of the copyist or purely by mistake. Marginal notes were inserted and merged into the Biblical text and sometimes moved around. The text evolves to fit more ‘orthodox’ views of the scribes as time went on. There is no way to discern exactly what the original texts actually said when they were copied and recopied, complete with mounting errors, over and over again over the centuries.

Scholars consider Mark to be the gospel written closest to the time of Jesus (just 30-35 years after). Mark presents a very different, more human view of Jesus. In the other gospels which were written even further away from the time of Christ, the stories about Jesus become more miraculous and elaborate. This is similar to the way in which larger- than-life mythologies develop around famous historical figures in the years after their death. Just compare Mark to John (which was written much later). In Mark, there is no virgin birth or childhood, no Joseph as Jesus’ father (Jesus is called “son of Mary.”), Jesus is not said to be divine, no promise of the Holy Spirit to come later, no new teachings about love and on the cross Jesus dies in despair saying nothing but asking God why He has forsaken him. In the oldest and closest to the original copies of Mark, there are no accounts of anyone seeing a resurrected Jesus as Matthew, Luke, and John later reported. Mark abruptly ends with “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing.” (Mk 16:6-8) Later, Matthew, Luke, and John reported that Jesus appeared to his followers and he appeared in and near Jerusalem, not in faraway Galilee as Mark predicted.

Jesus wrongly predicted that he would return with angels for the final judgment within the lifetime of his disciples (Matt. 16:27-28, Mk 13:24-30). Paul did the same (1 Thes .4:16-17, Phil. 4:5).

If God raised Jesus from the dead, then He failed to provide convincing proof to the Jews. All Jesus had to do was show up in the Temple and make a public display that his claims were true. This would have put an end to the rumor that the disciples had stolen his body from the tomb. Instead, the Gospels have Jesus appearing covertly, and only to his followers. Convenient, isn’t it?

One of the most disturbing things that became clear in my studies was the character of the God portrayed in the Bible. In recent years, there have been many efforts to overhaul God’s reputation and to present a kinder, gentler God who is a kind, loving Father. Preaching on Hell is not very much in style. In the ‘Visual Bible’ Matthew movie has an actor playing Jesus who smiles and laughs literally all the time. The huge bestseller book, The Shack, pictures God the Father as an older mother hen type African-American woman named Papa who gets a foot rub from Jesus after he spills batter on her. Numerous IHOP styled worship songs beautifully describe God’s extravagant, infinite love for us. They use romance-novel language about how God romances and woos us as a man does to a woman he’s in love with. The Song of Solomon is re-interpreted to be a romance between Jesus and the church. TV evangelists endlessly preach about Jesus wanting us all to have health and wealth. All this distraction is needed because so many times in the Bible, the picture of God portrayed there is truly horrifying. What kind of god would ask a father to offer his own son as a human sacrifice, to supposedly test his loyalty? Seriously. This is sick. After reading the story of Abraham and Isaac, no believer can ever be truly sure that God would not ask them to commit some insane immoral act as a test of their faith. In Paul’s epistles, as well as in Hebrews and James, Abraham is held up as the greatest example of faith and virtue because he was fully willing to carry out the human sacrifice of his own son. Sadly, there have been a number of cases in our own time where parents actually murdered their children because they believed God was telling them to.

For years I have read sickening news reports about the stonings, hangings, slavery, and executing women for the crime of being raped, which takes place in some Islamic countries. The more I thought about it, I realized that many of these detestable acts were exactly the same as the commands supposedly given by God to the Israelites, in the Old Testament. (Lev. 24:14, Deut. 21:18-21 & 25:11, 2 Kings 20:6-8, 14, 17, 25, 30) Like Christianity, Islam also finds it roots in the Old Testament faith. The horrific violence which is practiced by some devoted Muslims in our own time was, according to the Bible, common practice in ancient Theocratic Israel. These atrocities were reportedly commanded by God, who is supposed to be the same as the Christian Jesus! As Christians, we are supposed to view the practitioners of this violence in the Old Testament as doing God’s righteous will. We have become so conditioned to the barbaric violence in the Bible, that the Old Testament stories seldom impact us in a personal way, as if it really happened to real people like us. We read them through the soft-focus lens of Christian ‘symbolism,’ typology, and sermon illustrations we’ve all heard time and again. I read various well-respected theologians’ attempts to explain why God ordered the killing of the Canaanite, Babylonian, and Egyptian babies. Not one explanation even remotely justified this merciless slaughter of innocent babies. By these twisted lines of ‘reasoning’, one could justify that abortion doctors are doing a favor to the babies whose lives they end, since they are sending them straight to Heaven! I ask you, what kind of ‘loving’ God would decree that ANY babies would ever be ripped from their mother’s wombs (Hos. 13:4-8, 16)? In what context is it ever righteous to order the genocide of innocent people, old and young, men, women and all the children? Surely and all wise, all powerful and all loving God would find a way other than to slaughter masses of people.

The more I studied, the more the contradictions and errors in the Bible multiplied. How could this be? Why is it wrong to ask these questions? Why did no one have reasonable answers except unbelievers?

I checked to see how the ‘expert’ theologians and apologists dealt with these problems. I desperately wanted to find a way to reconcile the faith I had for most of my life, with the stark reality of what I now knew to be true about the Bible. I expected to find evidence supporting the veracity of the scriptures. I did not want to abandon my faith. Throughout this process I was fervently praying with confidence and faith that God would guide me in truth and give me wisdom and understanding.

The answers I did and didn’t find all pointed to conclusions I considered with great trepidation and holy fear. The Christian/Jewish God doesn’t exist. Jesus is not the “son of God.” Jesus didn’t rise from the dead. And there probably is no god at all. The Bible is just another man made attempt at explaining the world. I had been reading it through rose colored glasses. If so much of the Bible was untrue or man-made, where did that leave me and my salvation?

During this season I felt that God was showing Himself to me as the God who is metaphorically shrouded in darkness (1 Kings 8:12, II Sam. 22:12, Ps. 18:11, 97:2). I took darkness to represent hiddenness. This comforted me for a little while knowing that it was a season that would fulfill its purpose and then things would change. God wouldn't hide Himself from me forever. But what did the darkness metaphor really mean? Why? What about the passages that state that God is light? How can he metaphorically be in light and in darkness at the same time?

In the end, the conclusion I reached was that in order to love the truth and have any kind of integrity I would have to reject Christianity and the Bible and view them as purely human creations which had held people in fear and bondage for thousands of years. I know that people find comfort in Christianity (or other religions) in the face of the unknown and the tragedies of life. We crave clear answers and the illusion of security. We want to have order and an understanding of who we are and what our purpose is (I.e.The Purpose Driven Life’s runaway success). These instinctual desires go back to our ancestral roots when tribal people would sacrifice to please the gods and try to influence their sometimes merciless and unpredictable environmental factors such as the weather, crops, success in battle, plagues and fertility.

I can no longer find any comfort believing in a God who threatens those who don’t worship, love Him or believe in Him with eternal burning torture. Basically, what Christianity claims is that God loves you and that he will inflict unimaginable unending suffering on you if you don’t love him back and do exactly as he says. The most important commandment is that you believe (Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God in Mark 12:30. But Heb 11:6 says “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that he rewards those who seek Him.”). Not believing is a thought crime punished with eternal torment in Hell. It’s a worse sin than raping or killing babies. And God sometimes even commands some babies to be killed as a righteous act of obedience! The church is the bride of Christ. Israel was also pictured as being married to God. Based on what the Old Testament says about God’s history with Israel, He comes across as an abusive husband, lashing out in fury one moment, regretting it, and pouring out blessings in another. I find no comfort in relating to God as a loving heavenly Father when the history of Israel is littered with the graves of His children whom He killed. I cannot trust in a Jesus who supposedly loves children and yet endorses the Old Testament as inspired by God (Mat 5:17), while it contains a hymnal with a song with lyrics that say: “Babylon, you are doomed! I pray the Lord's blessings on anyone who punishes you for what you did to us. May the Lord bless everyone who beats your children against the rocks!” Psalm 137:8-9

The Gospels quote Jesus as saying that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand. This is true. The Bible is divided against itself; filled with conflicting and contradictory teachings. It has produced a Christianity which is splintered and fragmented into thousands of denominational divisions. The history of inter-Christian divisions and dissensions is a long, brutal and bloody one. And the Jewish people were frequently persecuted and murdered by Christians off and on too. Christianity has proven the failure of Jesus’ prayer that His followers would be one as He and His Father are one (John 17:11).

I am definitely not trying to say that everything about the Christian religion is bad. There are principles and teachings contained within the Bible which are very good. I know many of you have dedicated your lives to helping people. I know many wonderful sincere believers who are wonderful people. The fact remains though that it is a religion based on falsehood, which requires that its followers surrender their minds, time and money. It uses fear and threats to retain people’s loyalty. Christianity demands that believers to divide the ‘world’ into two categories – those who are ‘saved’ and those who aren’t. This causes Christians to relate to others in an unnatural way. Just like an Amway salesman, Christians are commanded to view people as prospects to expand the business network. Friendships are cultivated for the purpose of converting people, not for friendship’s sake. Always in the back of the believer’s mind is the thought; “People are going to hell without Jesus and I am sent by God to tell them how to be saved.” The motivation for being good and charitable is often not so much that they are the right thing to do, but they are a means to save people, to secure the believer’s own standing with God, or earn reward in the afterlife. Can you expect a reward in heaven and still be selflessly serving others? You can’t have it both ways. The same goes for Jesus' "sacrifice" on the cross. If he knew he was going to be resurrected and inaugurated as King of the universe, then it wasn't a "sacrifice" at all. It was a paycheck. Jesus lost nothing. He laid his life aside for a few days and was compensated overwhelmingly by God. "And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name." Phil. 2:8-9.

I’ve given a lot of thought to why it took me so long to start asking questions. I've recognized numerous factors which played a role in suppressing my thinking.

I was taught to believe the gospel from childhood. My reasoning and critical thinking skills were not yet developed. By the time I encountered the troubling aspects of the Bible; I was much older and was deeply inculcated in a Christian worldview. I didn’t know how to apply critical analysis to the biblical text. This was all I knew and all I'd ever heard.

Subjective experience played a big role. The feelings and emotions that accompany religious belief are powerful and seem to validate our beliefs. I had a number of religious experiences, some being quite dramatic, that I thought were hard evidences for the Bible’s truth. A shared sense of purpose and community, accompanied with stirring worship music and encouraging messages all combined to create a powerful experience. At the Brownsville Revival I regularly experienced verious "manifestations" of God's presence, as well as witnesses many other people be "touched by God." After hearing the stories of people from other faiths, I now realize that each religion has its own self-authenticating experiences. People feel their faith is real and that’s one reason they won’t leave their faith. It ‘works.’ If we are to say that Christianity is true, based on personal experiences or feelings (like the Mormons feel a ‘burning in their bosom’ that the Book of Mormon is true) then we have to accept that other religions are true, based on the personal testimony of adherents of those faiths. Personal experience, ‘inner witness’ of the Holy Spirit and unusual events are not confirmation of the Bible being true or not.

The Bible contains built in mechanisms which protect it from scrutiny by believers. From verses about the deceitfulness of our ‘desperately wicked heart,’ to verses about not “leaning on our own understanding” (not thinking for yourself), and God’s ways being beyond our comprehension, the message is clear: don’t try to reason through things and don’t trust your intellect. This is a convenient escape hatch for anything in the Bible that is troubling or contradictory. We shrug our shoulders and say “Well, God’s ways are so much higher than ours… When I get to Heaven I’ll get the answers… I have to trust that God will make sense of everything one day.”

Working closely with this is the concept of faith, which is the “substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen.” Heb. 11:1. Faith is evidence? Believing without evidence is a very practical tool for any religion in which the actual evidence is often contradictory or sorely lacking. I read a quote recently which rang true with me: “Faith doesn’t give you answers – it stops you from asking questions.”

If we begin with the assumption that the Bible is a reliable source of truth, then we can never admit that there are problems with it, even if they are obvious. We aren’t allowed to think those thoughts because it is against the rules! Don't "quench the Spirit." "Focus your thoughts on the things above, not the things below." It forces us to ignore or explain away troubling passages of Scripture. The belief that the Bible is without error actually forces believers to often ignore the plain meaning of what the writers intended to say!

Circular reasoning is also a huge problem. If we are quoting Bible verses which say the Bible is inspired, to prove the Bible is inspired, then all we are proving is that the Bible writers claim inspiration. Beyond that, we are proving nothing! Imagine someone quoting from Batman comic books to prove that Batman actually existed and that the comics are the true, inerrant account of his heroic deeds. Ridiculous! But that is no different than what believers do with the Bible. Is it?

I’ve come to recognize an important mental survival technique for Christians is to be able to focus on only the ‘positive’ passages, while ignoring or justifying many other very negative parts of the Bible. Just as the human mind is sometimes able to block out unpleasant and traumatic memories, the Christian mind must be able to forget all the troubling and unpleasant passages. Of course, the less you know about the Bible, especially of the Old Testament, the easier this mind-game becomes. This helps explain why most Christians have never even read the entire Bible one time and they rarely study the Bible in any depth.

The belief in an inspired, inerrant, infallible Bible effectively ties Christians’ hands behind their back when it comes to testing it for truthfulness. This view of the Bible turns Scripture into a ‘no-fly zone’ for logic and reason. Christians who would otherwise normally reject or laugh at stories of men fashioned out of dirt and breathed into life, talking snakes and talking donkeys, men flying up into the clouds in a flaming chariot, pregnant virgins, men teleporting and men calling fire out of the clear blue sky to kill people, don’t even blink when they encounter these things in the Bible. Why? Because they are conditioned to believe if it’s in the Bible, it has to be true, even if it sounds crazy! Some of these same people would be calling these things ‘Satanic’ and ‘occultic’ if they encountered them in Harry Potter or some other fantasy story. In other words, ‘inspired Scripture’ causes them to embrace as true, what their mind would normally tell them is fiction. Belief that the Bible is God’s word also leads people to try and force ancient, archaic laws and beliefs onto society. We live in the 21st century, but are trying to dictate our lives with thinking that dates back to Bronze Age nomadic tribes. Christians disregard clearly proven scientific discoveries because of their prior commitment to the ideas of primitive peoples.

After I had thought and prayed and studied through these things, I was faced with a decision. By mid December of 2010, I came to a point where I honestly admitted to myself that I had no faith in the Bible or God. I couldn’t just go through the motions of something I was sure to be false. This was an incredibly unexpected and surprising realization for me. I felt like I had just awoken from a long dream. Who am I? What is the meaning of life? Am I even asking the right questions?

I hoped that my friends and family would understand and not reject me as a person. My decision meant going into the unknown without clear cut answers or comforting beliefs. I found Carl Sagan to be right when he said “It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.” What a relief it became to begin to understand the world for what it is rather than through the convoluted, constricted, unnatural lens of faith. This is now my life to live the best that I can.

I don’t relish in sadening people I care about. I know that this letter will come as a disappointment to many of you. The last thing I want to do is bring anybody down. I have love and respect for many of my Christian friends. So let me clear the air about why this happened. This transition did not happen because I was hurting, struggling, or being deluded by demons. This is not about me 'running from God.' This is not about me rebelling. It's not about the devil fooling me. It's not about me having a bone to pick with God or with anyone else. It's not a "phase" I'm going through. It is about a realization I have made based on the evidence that I have. It is about being bold and honest with myself, no matter the cost. It is about exercising the freedom to think for myself.

I have no motivation to question what you’ve dedicated your lives to and find comfort and peace in. But I feel I owe it to all of you to give you an explanation of why I have left the Christian faith. I wish that there really were a good, loving god out there. But I’m no longer convinced there is any such thing. I do know one thing: We do have one another to love. I know that my absence of faith might cause you to fear for my salvation. I appreciate your concern for me, but please do not take this burden upon yourself. I have sincerely sought God for years, with fastings, prayers and intense scrutiny of the Bible. I have ‘experienced’ God in a personal way. But in the midst of my most sincere search for Him, He failed to show up. The evidence Jesus gave to ‘Doubting Thomas’ when he asked for it was not given to me. That absence speaks volumes. And just as how Genesis says that God’s spoken word created the world, His deafening silence has conversely shadowed the world in dark and beautiful mystery for me to find my way in. I've found that by using the one light I have- the light of logic and reason, I will always have a "lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."

I am genuinely at peace with my decision, even though it has been a very disillusioning process. I look at life as incredibly precious and limited. This life is both our heaven and hell, right here and now. My examination of how Judaism and Christianity developed in their beliefs has completely removed my fear of the threat of Hell. I live one day at a time; learning and growing. Life is not meaningless. I am free to create my own meanings and my own destinies. Knowing that this life might be all there is, I should live life to its fullest. If there is no afterlife, then life is even more valuable, not less. I don’t have eternity to figure it out. I have the finite now to live it out.

Not having faith in God does not mean that I have no moral compass. It just means that I no longer try to base my values on the subjective application and interpretation of writings from long ago by people who had a very limited understanding of the world. It means that I have to use the only thing I have: my mind, to wrestle with the moral complexities of the world in which we live. Life is no longer black and white for me. This world is composed of endless hues of gray. We live in the penumbra between chaos and order.

This letter could go on and on. But the point is clear enough. I love the truth. I love reality. I am not a bad person seeking excuses for sinning. I am a man who made an intense search for truth and it lead me into the freedom of thinking without the constraints and fears imposed upon me by the imaginations of ancient men, men whose ideas are better left in the bloody pages of our human history, immersed in darkness and ignorance.

"The one who states his case first seems right,

until the other comes and examines him."

Proverbs 18:17


Adam Vigansky