Last week on Ecuador’s Got Talent, an argument for the existence of God that I have often faced was in the news once more. Sixteen-year-old singer Carolina Pena had just finished her performance when a judge asked her, “Do you believe in God?”
Carolina replied that she did not “because God has not given me a reason to believe.”
To which one of the judges replied, “So what do you believe? Where did we come from?”
Last time, we saw how we can miss the truth when we think we know what’s in other people’s heads — when we play Amateur Psychologist. Not to pick on David Sereda, but in the same video he also serves as a foil for this post’s Truth-Loving Test for Amateur Scientists:
A truth-loving amateur scientist has a keen nose for baloney from other amateur scientists.
If you’re just joining the discussion, it’s about the video below that “proves” UFOs were out in space with the shuttle Columbia.
In the last post, we saw a tape from NASA that proved UFOs were out in space along with the space shuttle Columbia. Proved, that is, until that interpretation of the tape was easily debunked.
Sue Houston left a comment on that post that is a perfect segue to what I wanted to share today:
…clearly the space guys [from NASA] are not excited by these objects. They know what they are, as they are familiar with the optics of the situation. That should have been reason enough for “true believers” to take pause.
As we will see, one person’s lack of excitement is another person’s stunned silence.
We UFO nuts are always looking for evidence that will finally convince everyone that we are being visited by extraterrestrials. (It seems thousands of eyewitness accounts are not enough. Sheesh!)
Well, how about a movie from NASA that clearly shows a swarm of UFOs clustering around something we put in space? And how about if some of those UFOs could be proven to be at least a mile wide? That ought to do it!
So imagine how intrigued I was when I saw the video below.
The last post closed by explaining how the doctrine of the security of the believer serves to keep people in the faith: It is impossible to lose your salvation, so if you supposedly leave the faith, you must never have had faith in the first place. You did not give God a sincere try. So you remain, and try more earnestly. Also, if someone you know leaves, then he must not have been a true Christian, so whatever reasons he gives are obviously invalid. You need not be tempted to leave on his account!
The doctrine originates with verses like this one. Jesus is speaking about his followers (John 10:28).
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.
Even as a Christian, I had questions about this (Maybe no one will snatch them out, but can they walk out on their own?). And not every evangelical holds this belief. However, for the purpose of this post let’s assume the doctrine is correct: someone like me must never have been a true Christian.
I suggest that this immediately puts the believer in a bind– one that I have never heard any believer acknowledge.
On November 7, a roomful of Christians will interview me for an hour on the subject of why I left the faith. Starting with this post, I’d like to get a head start on the discussion. I hope some people who will attend the forum will read these posts and leave comments or questions.
Let’s start on an optimistic note and observe that my story, of leaving the Christian faith in middle age, is actually very rare. (It is far more common for young adults to leave, but I won’t have much to say about that.) We midlifers are notorious for our crises. Why don’t more of us leave the church?
There are obvious reasons, such as decades of sensing God’s presence, of seeing answers to prayer, and of forming Christian friendships, but in this post I’d like to focus on some less-obvious reasons.