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Losing Your BFF

Losing Faith, Reason #4: Big Bang Theory

In missionary college, we were asked in the last year of a 3-year BA course if we believed in a recent creation, evolution or if we are unsure. Just a few believed in creation, a handful in evolution, and well over 80% raised their hands when the ‘unsure’ option was due.

In first year of the BA however, the vast majority believed in a literal, recent, 6 day creation. I found this an interesting observation: the more you study theology, the less you believe in creation. However, my fellow students did not comfortably say they believed in evolution either. Apparently this was a big topic of confusion, and was rather avoided than engaged head-on. Continue reading “Losing Faith, Reason #4: Big Bang Theory”

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What Kept Me In? Reason #4: Faith

When I was about 14, I was an active evangelical evangelist at my school. Yep, I was that guy with a WWJD bracelet (What Would Jesus Do) and even a Christian T-shirt depicting the sword of the Spirit. Naturally, that led to some discussions with fellow classmates about the existence of God.

In one slightly heated debate they cried out: “So where is your God? Where does he live?” I didn’t really know how to respond, so said something from the gut: “He lives in your heart!”, and demonstrated it by pointing to my own blood-pumping muscle. I was pleasantly surprised with my spiritually-sounding answer. The pleasure was only for about 2 seconds, when I was met with a lot of laughter. “Really? What a small space. Left chamber or right chamber? Haha, what nonsense”.

Continue reading “What Kept Me In? Reason #4: Faith”

Reader Questions #1

Time for some reader questions! Many of you have been asking me questions, some of you a whole bunch of them. One of my friends, an active missionary, send me this list.  Perhaps some of his questions were also on your mind…

Continue reading “Reader Questions #1”

What Kept Me In? Reason #3: The Church

“What? You are saying you were not disappointed with the church?” The Christian psychologist that I had met looked a bit surprised at me. “But, why did you leave the faith then? I had totally assumed it was for people who had done you wrong.”

With all the trouble in the world right now, this blog post is going to be a more positive one. And possibly quite unexpected: the church!

Continue reading “What Kept Me In? Reason #3: The Church”

Losing Faith, Reason #3: God’s Silence in our Disputes

I have been raised as an evangelical (‘evangelisch’ in Dutch) amidst a reformed church. Throughout my life I have therefore always been very well aware that Christians have different opinions, styles and theology. I tried to live by the rule of Saint Augustine of Hippo: ‘In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity”.

End of a very short and happy story? Not quite…

Continue reading “Losing Faith, Reason #3: God’s Silence in our Disputes”

What Kept Me In, Reason #2: Wired For God

When I was in missionary college, in England, we had an interesting experience. During a class on postmodern society, we were visited by an actual atheist, who happened to be the father of one of the students. How exciting!

Where there are normally about 20 students in class, that time it was packed, also with students from other years who were not even following the normal lectures, just for a chance to talk to such a peculiar version of the human species. Our teacher found this quite funny, because as he rightly pointed out, one could speak to scores of atheists by just walking down from college grounds to the nearest pub and just open your mouth there.

Anyway, during the class this atheist asked who knew for sure that God exist. To my shame now, I raised my hand. Why did I do that? And why was it so strange to talk to an atheist?

Continue reading “What Kept Me In, Reason #2: Wired For God”

Losing Faith, Reason #2: Worldview (part 2)

Just the day after writing part 1 on worldview, I went to a philosophy group here in town. One of the questions was: what do we know for absolutely sure? While there are many secular people there, the only thing that came up was: “I am aware of you now”. A slight variation on “I think, therefore I am”. Pretty much everything else can be questioned… (believe me, in a room full of philosophy-minded people, it will be questioned!)

My point? Everybody has to operate outside of plain ‘facts’ to even get out of bed, eat your cereals, or drive a car. Especially our worldview (e.g. our belief in Jesus) is not a plain ‘fact’, which is already made clear by the observation there are so many worldviews out there, and they are usually quite complex as well. So how can we know which worldview is ‘right’?

Continue reading “Losing Faith, Reason #2: Worldview (part 2)”

Losing Faith, Reason #2: Worldview (part 1)

Have you ever met one of those people? Those who say: “Religions are horrible and boring! I don’t have a religion; I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!”

To be honest, I have been one of them, throughout my whole teens, but lost it by the time I was 20 or so. There were even those that came to missionary college, and would protest vehemently whenever the words ‘religion’ and ‘Christianity’ were used in one sentence. Of course they would be persuaded after a while to see Christianity as a religion, because no matter how you define religion, it is worthless if it doesn’t apply to faith in Jesus Christ. For those unconvinced: Christianity has rituals, supernatural beliefs, a Deity even, community, prayer, morals, etc. It simply is a religion, even the biggest in the world. The fact that it also involved a ‘personal’ relationship with God does not negate the rest.

The interesting question here is: what is behind this repulsion for religion?

Continue reading “Losing Faith, Reason #2: Worldview (part 1)”

What Kept Me In? Reason #1: The Web of the Mega-Belief

If you are a Christian and you have read some of the posts here on this blog, how did that make you feel? Angry? Sad? Frustrated? Indifferent?

And what did it do to your beliefs? Were they severely challenged? Did you lie awake for nights on end pondering whether there is a God after all?

My bet is that it probably did absolutely nothing, or perhaps it made you feel uncomfortable for a little while… but then you moved on. Was my argument so bad? That is a certainly a possibility. But then there are many people I speak to that have said they have no good answer to my questions about the absent character of God in mission (or many other questions). They stand with empty hands and cannot answer most of the deep, profound questions that I have had.

Yet they continue to believe in the Christian God.

…Why?

Continue reading “What Kept Me In? Reason #1: The Web of the Mega-Belief”

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