Perran's Religion Pages

This page is an attempt to represent my current view on Christianity and religion in general. It is much more sympathetic than my "Deconversion Page" which was written to an ex-christian mailing list and while I was somewhat more embittered towards the mind warping I feel fundamentalist Christianity represents. 

My sympathy is not so much towards the religion as to the individuals.  Having been devout and knowing the arguements made to defend the faith I can see how, if one believes to begin with, one can answer every challenge to the faith despite the apparent absurbity to outside observers.  The key is that you must first believe.  If you are brought up in the faith (or introduced while young - I became a Christian in Grade 3 or 4) it is easy to first believe rather than first disbelieve.

My own deconversion was a result of being part of the Christian world that believes that God will make his will clearly known to those who truly seek him.  When it came time for me to chose my post-secondary education and what my profession should be I was torn.  I had many 'prophesies' of a great ministry which I took to mean I should go to Bible College.  At the same time my love was computers and I was a much better programmer than speaker/essaysist.  I spent many hours on my knees, for many month, seeking God and seeking his will.  

I never got a clear answer, an answer I knew was of God, and not simply my own desires, my own mind.  There were other factors, but this lack of direction from God was probably the single most important thing that set me on the path to disbelief.  If I had been willing to take the thoughts of my own mind as the 'still small voice' of God I would probably still be a Christian, but my problem was that I was devout.  I had to be absolutely certain that what I was doing was God's will and not my own.  In the end it was my own devotion to God's will and not my own that set me on the path I now follow, which is rather ironic in that this path includes a great deal of uncertainty as to whether any God exists, much less the Christian one.

Once my belief was questioned the rest fell apart.  I discovered I could not prove God existed to myself, if I did not first take it as a given.  While I believed God existed, and believed the tenents of my faith no argument could shake that belief, yet without that certainty there was no proof that could satisfactorily prove God's existance.  The rational validity of my beliefs was put into further question by the fact that I was a Creationist.  I believed that the only theologically valid interpretation of Genesis was a literal 7-day creation, and a young earth (7,000-10,000 years old).  This directly contradicted the scientific evidence I eventually learned about in university.

One of these evidences was the validity of carbon dating.  In my physics course I chose the topic of accelerator mass spectroscopy without realizing it's connection to radiocarbon dating.  In preparing my seminar I learned a great deal about the science behind carbon dating and how modern techniques made the dating more accurate than ever.  This was at direct odds with the necessary argument by creationists that the methods of dating objects was scientifically invalid.

Another great blow to the edifice of my belief was learning what the theory of evolution actually was about (rather than the straw man pitched by creationists) and discovering and just how much sense it made.  It is a beautiful theory in the basic simplicity, yet has details that have much room for research.  Darwin's evolution doesn't exist as a theory now - we've learned much of biology since that time - but evolutionary theory owes much to the first evolutionist.  In any event studying the science of evolution rather than simplistic misrepresentations of the theory gave me a great deal more respect for evolution and a great deal less respect for creationism.

Still the things that changed my beliefs are individual and I can see how easy it is to believe.  I do not despise Christians as a whole (though I certainly do get frustrated at times when their belief interferes with rational discourse).  I spent a fair amount of time debating chrisitianity and evolution vs creation on both sides of the fence, but I no longer do so.  I suppose if there was some earth-shattering revelation from God I would change my mind, but that hasn't happened, and I somehow doubt such an event will occur. 


 ® 1999 Daniel F. Dickinson <perran@geocities.com>



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