When I first started blogging almost 2 years ago, I had the following 2 posts about the trend of doubters leaving the faith.
- Young Doubters Leaving the Faith, Part One. This post highlighted recent stats on people leaving the faith, and the unfortunate, unhelpful responses they received from Christians when they began to have questions and doubts.
- Young Doubters Leaving the Faith, Part Two. In this post I share practical ideas for how to better interact with people having doubts. Let’s not drive them away faster through our ungracious, unhelpful or downright rude reactions!
In light of this, I wanted to share a series of posts from a guy named Nate who was once a believer but has now “de-converted” and considers himself atheist. Nate is a really nice guy – and I honestly mean that. We interact on each others blogs from time to time. He is not one of those vitriolic former believer types at all. As I recently read through his recent series of posts on his de-conversion, what stood out to me was the various responses he got from Christians in his life. I found it interesting to see the things that they did (or didn’t do) that were helpful (or not so helpful) as he was on this journey. We can learn from this my friends! The first post in his series is here.
I hope Nate’s posts might help someone out there have a little more understanding and sympathy for what it is like to doubt and eventually reject the faith. Believe it or not, most of them are not cruel heartless people who take pleasure in troubling their believing friends and family by rejecting faith! They are real people and their move away from faith can be as difficult for them as it is for their friends and family.
Something that leaves me pondering is how an explanation or piece of “evidence” that is convincing to one person does not convince another. For Nate, the book of Daniel posed a serious concern that contributed significantly to his rejection of faith. For my own father, the book of Daniel had the opposite effect. My dad spent a couple of years carefully considering Christianity and the Bible, before finally making a decision to trust Christ as Savior. He was never the type to make a rash decision. One of the decision factors that tipped the scales for him was actually Daniel. It has to be admitted that Daniel is a complex book and there are genuine historical and interpretive concerns. But for my dad, more about Daniel made it trustworthy than non-trustworthy and it contributed to his conversion to Christ.
My point here is not to pit my dad against Nate! Nate is a careful thinker just like my dad. My point is that I’ve observed this before. Two equally intelligent people will perceive the same things differently, and come to different conclusions. So, walloping others over the head with “so there” facts doesn’t seem to be the answer! A little more charity and humble dialogue seems needed by those on both sides….