I think it’s safe to say that most of us have a desire to share our experiences and perspectives with those around us. I’m sitting here wishing there was some easy way to document the entire contents of my brain; to sift through it, organize it, and share it with the world in a way that everyone can appreciate and understand. Needless to say, such an aspiration is unrealistic. Sometimes I find myself overwhelmed and mildly frustrated by how much I want to say, and yet saying in part would not do justice to what it is I have to say. Some things simply cannot be understood without all of the individual pieces assembled into one big picture, and that is why I want to use this platform to begin an extensive discussion about life’s biggest questions. Granted, not everyone is interested in the big questions. Nevertheless, my goal in this blog is to hopefully spark at least some ounce of curiosity and interest in my readers. I’ll also try to assist those more interested in practical ideas by attempting to ground rational philosophical inquiry in practicality; in other words, not just exploring ideas, but also seeking out ways in which the big questions relate to how we live our lives.
For those of you who may not know, I’ve been on somewhat of a journey throughout the past year, experiencing a major shift in perspective fueled by a wave of questions and doubt related to my faith. Throughout this adventure I have periodically posted some of my thoughts and questions on Facebook as a way to process my own ideas and to spark some honest and respectful discussion. In this blog I want to go deeper in sharing the journey I’ve been on over the last year, partly for my own sake as a way of understanding my own thoughts, ideas, and emotions, and also because I want to avoid my unhealthy tendency to seclude myself whenever I start feeling like the odd man out. I also want to eventually expand the discussion to a much broader perspective that encompasses far more than mere theological debates, and so I strongly encourage comments that provide such a discussion platform, so long as the dialogue remains mature and respectful.
I would like to start with an overview of this drastic shift in worldview that I’ve experienced over the last eight months or so, and since that did begin with questions of a theological nature, that is where I’m going to start. However, it’s worth noting that the burden of proof should never be on the one who doubts, but rather on the one making a substantial claim. So although I’ll be giving reasons for my journey away from Christianity, I do so only because, from my perspective, Christianity was my starting point, and is also the starting point for the vast majority of my friends, family, and acquaintances. For the sake of philosophy and reason, the fewer assumptions we begin with, the better, and the less likely we are to find ourselves standing on a bridge improperly constructed. My goal is to first rid ourselves of any presuppositions we have about the nature of reality that have been passed down to us from our culture or religious traditions, and instead start with a clean slate before proceeding forward.
To be clear, however, my end goal is certainly not to demean or destroy anyone’s faith, but I absolutely do want to challenge people to take their faith seriously enough to ask questions. And if God does indeed exist and is the creator of the entire universe, but can’t handle a primate on a speck of dust in one corner of one galaxy amongst hundreds of billions of galaxies questioning God’s nature or existence, then I would suggest this God see a therapist about his unfathomable self-esteem problems.
And in addition to challenging others, I also want this blog to allow others to challenge me and my worldview. The trouble comes when we are so content with our own perspective and in what we believe that we grow arrogant towards and cynical of anyone who sees things differently, and this is something I have to continually remind myself of. If we begin to demonize the “other side”, always pointing out the worst in them, and never seeking to understand why they might believe what they believe, then barriers and divides will never be crossed and peace and unity will never be achieved. So why not let us humble ourselves and admit that there’s always a chance our own perspective may be flawed, that there may be some truth to what the “other side” has to say, and that we ought to be working together towards whatever common purpose we can find between us.
I would also like to make it clear that my experience with Christianity and Christians themselves has been a positive one, and that in no way am I at odds with Christianity as a result of any sort of spiritual abuse from church, church leaders, or my family; quite the contrary. My friends and family, along with every single pastor and spiritual mentor in my life have possessed an inspiring amount of love, compassion and support for me even in the midst of this journey. If that level of character is a result of their faith, then that’s at least one aspect of their faith I am certainly not at odds with.
So in the coming blog posts I’ll be breaking down the many different factors that initiated this journey for me and doing my best to go in-depth into each one. My goal is to post at least once a week, which may be a bit more difficult once the holidays are over, but I’ll do my best. Please feel free to share with anyone who you think might be interested, and I’m also open to advice for ways in which you think I can improve the blog.
Thanks for reading!