“To be or not to be xE2x80x93 a Christian xE2x80x93 that is the question” , Converts, Tue, Jan 29 2013 #(1484)

Jan 29, 2013

I am a retired forensic scientist, having spent most of my career
specialising in body fluids and DNA. My father was a Methodist
minister, a gentle person who spent his whole life serving other
people. Both my parents were evangelical Christians but as a child it
never felt oppressive or particularly restrictive and I naturally
followed their lead. I was more than a nominal Christian, and ended up
being a member of the leadership team of a charismatic evangelical
church. I would have readily described myself as a Christian from my
youth until, in my late 50’s, I had a crisis of faith and began to have
concerns about where the church was heading, and some of the things
that were being taught. Exhausted, disillusioned and full of doubts, my
wife and I withdrew from being actively involved in the church. As a
biologist, I had previously read ‘The Selfish Gene’ and ‘The Blind
Watchmaker’ by Richard Dawkins, but at this time I came across ‘The God
Delusion’ and it stimulated me to re-examine the reasons I had given to
support the existence of God and what I understood as evidence of the
truth of Christianity. It also helped me explore the sincerely held
views of those who did not believe in God. The words of Bertrand
Russell resonated with me: “It is a healthy thing now and then to lay a
question mark on the things you have taken for granted”

I began to keep notes recording my thoughts, drawing on my experiences
and responding to what I was reading. I found many of the Christian
responses to ‘The God Delusion’ surprisingly weak. I read theological
and Christian books, and examined the writings of Bertrand Russell, T H
Huxley and others. By writing things down I tried to make sure I was
not missing something important, and was exploring each issue, checking
‘the facts’ as honestly as I could. It’s turned into a bit of a book
that I keep adding to. I hoped that in this way I might reach a
conclusion, even if it meant having to change my beliefs, and this is
what has indeed happened.

I was encouraged as a teenager to think that there are good reasons
for believing in God, but now as a ‘mature adult I take the opposite
view, there are no good reasons to continue believing in God.

In The God Delusion R D set out a number of milestones that can be
identified in a spectrum of belief. For most of my life I would have placed myself at level 2 on the ‘Dawkins’ scale, (de facto theist) now after considering everything, as a ‘mature’ adult I find myself very close to level 6 (de facto
atheist) – that is my position. Does that count as a ‘conversion’? All
I would say is R D’s book came at the right time for me and I think he
is closer to the truth than his critics will ever give him credit for.
I would encourage everyone to check the ‘facts’ for themselves, that
way (to borrow a verse from the bible) you will ‘ be prepared to give
an account of the hope that is in you’!

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