A Heartfelt Response to my Christian Critics.

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It is clear that my work has been criticized by both my fellow religious believers and, quite unsurprisingly due to the nature of my blog as well as my own orientation, the non-religious. Recently a Christian friend at college informed me that her husband, who evidently views my site, found some of my views opposed to Christianity; especially when it comes down to the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. Several Christian readers have therefore engaged with me over my views on inerrancy. In fact, I have one such debate this weekend with a fellow apologist. Another reader believes that I am “only prepared to accept God on [my] terms – not on His,” whereas I am also told that I “cannot intellectually honestly be a Christian…” Many have thought along the same lines as another reader who explains that he is “bitterly disappointed” and will, as a result, “withdraw from your Facebook page. I will pray that you realise the error of your way.” But, fortunately, I do have fellow Christians who agree with me on inerrancy although they are far fewer than those opposed. I am not in any way annoyed by this or opposed to it. In fact, I encourage it. I am open to those who do not agree to my views. But I was moved to pen this article after reading this:

“James, the more I read your blog the more I’m convinced that my decision to leave Christianity was the right one. Your blog, more than any other, tells me just how bogus this religion really is. I showed some of my christian friends this site and now they are having doubts about their faith. Thanks for being a good resource for atheism, even if it isn’t intentional.”

I would like to briefly respond. I feel this reader is quite different to most critics since the majority simply disagree with me, let me know what they think, and regardless still retain their beliefs. However, I am genuinely most saddened by the fact that fellow believers may doubt after interacting with my content. This is because my website was never created to cause unbelief in my fellow Christian brothers and sisters. It was also never intended to be an obstacle for seekers. My site is a place where I want to present the reasons for belief; something I’ve done and emphasized.

Moreover, I also feel the weight of the eternal ramifications. I am deeply saddened that my content can prove to be a deterrent from some peoples’ accepting of salvation in Jesus. I don’t ever want to be the reason that someone will lose their salvation and thus avoid communing with God for eternity. I sincerely believe this and that is why I feel the weight of it.

It’s also not easy. I can understand the doubts of my readers. I especially sympathize with the above emboldened statement. I am not lying when I say that I know what it is like to doubt, to nearly give up belief altogether, as well as feel the overwhelming pressures of all aspects so pertinent to this terrain. I can understand because I’ve been there many times myself and, in many ways, I am still there. It’s not easy, nor is it pleasant, to realize that some of our views about the Bible/Christianity are undermined in the face of evidence. It’s not easy to have to alter those beliefs and, again, I know this because I go through it myself. And I surely know I am not the only one. If a fellow Christian friend experiences this please realize you are not alone in it.

I also believe that I am not really being fairly treated. Over the weeks, months and years I have penned many pieces (from the persuasive evidence for Jesus’ deity and resurrection to some of the arguments for God existence & Christianity’s truth) on why I sincerely believe the truth of the Christian religion. I’ve looked at the views of other religious and non-religious philosophies & beliefs and have explained why I think Christianity is superior. Thus, I safely say that regardless of my views on inerrancy, or whatever else, the reasons for belief is something I’ve lived for, espoused and proclaimed. I just wish my critics would acknowledge this too. Moreover, on points of disagreement I welcome dialogue and interaction. And on this note I sincerely apologize to those who have wished to interact with me but with whom I haven’t responded to. This is mostly because time is in short supply when one studies full-time, maintains a website on a daily basis, and has many other responsibilities.

But, on a final note, I don’t intend to stop pursuing the truth. I want to consider the evidence and follow where it leads. I know that when I do this many will continue to disagree with me. That’s just the nature of the pursuit for truth; not everyone will agree with each other. I sincerely hope that we can discuss these things. I also hope that we will discuss the many reasons for why we believe what we do.

Where I found truth, there found I my God, who is the truth itself” – Saint Augustine (354 – 430 AD)

9 responses to “A Heartfelt Response to my Christian Critics.

  1. Sometimes people will use a myriad of tactics for the purpose of silencing opposing views, even the ones that appear sincere on the surface. Keep doing what you’re doing. I have found that of the things of yours that I have shared with people there was little to nothing that they felt that they were able to articulately debate.

  2. I think many Christians take it as a personal affront when someone says their sacred texts aren’t perfect (with the twinkling sound from The Fifth Element in mind). Especially here in the US the far right Evangelical Christians, while not the majority, are the most outspoken. To them The Bible is THE Word (emphasis from Robin Williams). No, the writers couldn’t have written using common literary devices. They also miss that many of the Old Testament stories have been taken from much older works. The Biblical flood is one example of a story that was quite common during that time in various forms. Also, the story of Giglamesh, which also has a flood story, that is at least several hundred years older bears striking resemblance to that of Abraham… or was it Moses. I forget now. The point being that the stories of particularly the Old Testament were probably not understood to be literal in the sense that they are more allegorical to be used as examples of how to behave. And as you have explained they are written far before the formalization of any kind of methodical forms of inquiry.

    To be honest, I am a non believer. However, I do find many of your writings interesting simply because they are in such stark contrast to the outspoken Evangelical Christian view of Biblical inerrancy. Living in the middle of it all in Oklahoma it is nice to read a point of view that isn’t so literal in the interpretation of The Bible.

  3. Pingback: A Heartfelt Response to my Christian Critics. — James Bishop’s Theology & Apologetics. | Talmidimblogging·

  4. Dear James.
    There are those who, for their own reasons, are looking for the slightest reason for abandoning whatever faith they had. They will find these so called reasons at any opportunity.
    I have found that these unfortunates often do not have a real faith grounded in a definite conversion to Christ, so they readily fall away when faced with the demands of the Gospel. Do not worry that your blogs and arguements were responsible for their departure from faith. They are reponsible.

  5. I really appreciate your site, and your honest struggling with issues. Even if I disagree with you at times, I like to see the counter arguments.

    The fact that some lose their Faith over some of the problems you discuss shows how dangerous Fundamentalism and its rigid reading of the Bible can be. For example, doubt about the Earth being older than a few thousand years equals Christianity being false, is a unnecessary binding of the Christian conscience.

    Thanks you for your work. I look forward to continue reading.

  6. According to many well-researched and interesting articles on this website, and depending upon which human sources or authorities one chooses to consult, it is now apparently possible to “prove” that virtually everything in the Bible is either myth, legend or fable, and that everything in it that IS true is open to “personal interpretation”.
    If one believes all this, why would anyone believe ANY of it, let alone use it as a basis of faith, and why even bother spending one’s time examining its historical accuracy or questioning its plain teachings?
    I certainly wouldn’t!

  7. James, 20 something years ago I was on the road of becoming a bible sceptic, vulnerable for doctrinal errors, and probably somehow becoming as an unbeliever. However through study and study and study I found the bible more and more reliable and as I see it now, without any error. Even the errors you point out, seem to me either not insolvable or are even solved already. Therefore I can not imagine, being the intellectual and researcher you are, that you can not come to the same conclusions. Yes sometimes leaving some pieces aside in the confidence that they will fit later into the whole, even better then imagined. As I have seen that over and over again (the metaphor of putting together a jig-saw puzzle comes into my mind). So before you make final conclusions, my advice is to let things rest for a while. Otherwise it will be harder to de-construct your house en public, since that is humiliating.

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