According to Wintery Knight, an Evangelical blogger and apologist, there are four major reasons people leave Christianity and become atheists:
They want to do something immoral with impunity. This type of person wants to do something immoral that is forbidden by Christianity, like pre-marital sex or getting drunk in clubs with friends. They dump Christianity in order to have freedom to seek happiness in this life.
They want to make decisions based on their emotions, rather than wisdom. This type of person thinks that God’s job is to save them when they act irresponsibly. When God disappoints them by not make their recklessness “work out”, they leave the faith.
They want to be loved by people, not by God. This type of person thinks that Christianity is a tool that they can use to become popular. When they first try to articulate the gospel in public, they find that people don’t like them as much, and they feel bad about offending people with exclusive truth claims that they cannot back up using logic and evidence. So, they water down Christianity to get along with non-Christians. Finally, they jettison Christianity completely. This happens to a lot of young Christians the moment they hit college/university.
They don’t want to learn to defend their faith. This type of person is asked questions by skeptics that they cannot answer. Usually, this happens when people go to university after growing up in the shelter of the Church. The questions and peer pressure make them feel stupid. Rather than investigate Christianity to see if it’s true, they drop it, so they can be thought of as part of the “smart” crowd.
Sigh (please see Why I Use the Word “Sigh”).
Let’s see, I have been married for forty-three years and I’ve never fucked anyone but my wife. I have no “secret” desires to sin. In fact, I suspect my godless life is quite Christian. Outside of my use of swear words, my TV viewing habits, and my love of whiskey, I am as moral and ethical as any Christian (not a very high standard, to be sure). Does Wintery Knight really want to get in a dick measuring contest to see who is more moral and ethical? (Please see the Black Collar Crime Series.) Wintery Knight thinks that Evangelicals-turned-atheists wanted to fuck with impunity (remember, it’s always about sex for Evangelicals) and that’s why they deconverted. Is that how it was for you? We can only wish, right? 🙂
Wintery Knight says Evangelicals-turned-atheists made decisions based on emotion, and when these decisions didn’t work out, they blamed God and deconverted. Was that the case for any of you? And let me be clear, all decisions are emotion-based. Humans are emotional creatures. “Wisdom” is a word used by Evangelicals to describe “thinking as God thinks” or “making decisions according to the Bible.” Atheists understand that we make the choices we do because we want to. Sometimes these decisions work out, sometimes they don’t. That’s life. I am almost sixty-five years old. I have made thousands of decisions in my lifetime. Good, bad, and indifferent. Unlike my wife, Polly, I have little problem making decisions. I spent most of my life working management-level jobs. Decision-making was expected of me. I have made some colossal mistakes over the years. Just ask Polly. 🙂 At no time as a Christian did I ever blame God when things didn’t turn out as I expected. (I asked WHERE was God in the post Dear Jesus, but I never blamed God for anything. I was a Calvinist, after all. Everything in my life was decreed by God, including my deconversion.) 🙂
Wintery Knight thinks Evangelicals-turned-atheists viewed Christianity as a way to become popular. Really? I mean, really? Does this remotely resemble your experience? Wintery Knight goes on to apply the slippery slope argument to Evangelicals-turned-atheists. We tried “to articulate the gospel in public,” found out [unsaved] people didn’t like us as much [duh, who likes someone who (unsolicited) interjects religion and politics in social settings?], and felt bad about offending people. So, we watered down Christianity to get along with unbelievers, and finally we “jettison [ed] Christianity completely.” I don’t know of one Evangelical-turned-atheist who would say Wintery Knight’s claim is true.
And finally, Wintery Knight says that Evangelicals-turned-atheists didn’t want to learn how to defend the faith; that they felt stupid when asked questions by unbelievers; so they deconverted so they could be considered part of the “smart crowd.”
Evidently, Wintery Knight hasn’t talked to many, if any, Evangelicals-turned-atheists. Most of the former Christians who read this blog are actually quite conversant in all things Christianity. They read and studied the Bible for years. In my case, I read the Bible from cover to cover numerous times. I spent thousands and thousands of hours reading and studying the Bible — roughly twenty hours a week. All told, I preached 4,000 sermons. I can safely say that I know the Bible inside and out. And I can say the same for the ex-Evangelical pastors, evangelists, missionaries, youth directors, worship leaders, college professors, and deacons, to name a few, who frequent this site. We left Christianity with full knowledge and eyes wide open.
Go read the full text of Wintery Knight’s screed on his site. His attempt to take down Dan Barker, a former Evangelical pastor and co-president of the Freedom of Religion Foundation, is a hoot.
Bruce Gerencser, 64, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 43 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
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