Continuing on my blog post from Tuesday, below are some excerpts from atheists explaining the difficulty they had with explanations about Genesis and answers to their questions about the Bible from church leadership.
Matthew Donica posted:
I was born into a Christian home, and sent to a fundamentalist Christian church. I never even thought to question Christianity until I was about 14, I just accepted every Christian premise I heard without question. When I was about 14, a deacon at the Southern Baptist church I was a member of, filled in for the youth pastor who was out sick. He asserted that the world was only 6000 years old, and that dinosaur bones were planted in the ground by Satan to trick scientists into leading people away from Yahweh. The first thing that shook me up, was the fact that he was not some random guy who just attended church sometimes. He was a deacon and a pretty high ranking guy in the church. I quickly turned the same rational eye that I had on his arguments onto my own beliefs and realized that they were just as silly.Although saddened, I was not surprised to see that many of the atheists had grown up in conservative evangelical churches. Our Already Gone study polled only those from conservative church backgrounds, and it was clear from their answers to our questions that a lot of misinformation is being taught in these churches. The deacon of this church decided not to use the Bible to explain dinosaurs and instead gave a “silly story” to explain their presence. Although he was correct about the age of the earth, he should have explained from the biblical genealogies how that date was obtained and then shown how science confirms an age of only several thousand years for the earth. Just asserting this idea without supporting it made it seem like another “silly story” that was in direct opposition to what Matthew was likely being taught about the age of the earth in school.
Since I had so many questions and the priests were refusing to answer them, my parents encouraged me to attend an after church program, kind of alike a special school for advanced theology. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but the teachers and bishops certainly didn’t enjoy me! I have hundreds of tales, but they all basically followed this template:Unlike Matthew’s experience with church leadership, This person’s church leaders gave no answer. They had apparently decided that the Bible was literally true when it talked about Jesus being the only way to be saved, but that other parts were more open to “interpretation” and not to be taken literally. This person saw their inconsistencies, and when he asked about it, he was told that Satan was the problem and then they ignored his question! How sad to see church leaders training children that don’t believe in the truthfulness and authority of all of God’s Word and the subsequent damage this has done to these children.
(bishop) So it is through Jesus that you will be saved and the Holy spirit is in you.
(me) But what about the Egyptian gods…or the greek gods? Aren’t they just as real?”
(bishop) No, those are myths, but our tales are true. There is only one god.
(me) bit [but] the Bible itself says that God is to be judged AMONG THE GODS, and the first commandment says “have no other gods before me” That’s pretty plain that there are other gods. Didn’t you KNOW that was in there, I read it just the other night!
(bishop) Well…er…ummm…if you read it again and again the spirit will help you INTERPRET the true meaning of the verses, so don’t look at it so literally.
(me) but you said the book was the holy word of god, and now you’re saying not to take it literally? Which is it?
(bishop) clearly Satan is trying to deceive you, you should pray for guidance. Now moving on…it’s through Jesus that you will be saved, so let’s open our books to…
Yup…it was Satan who was making the words say what they did. same every time, I’d have a good point, the bishop would accuse Satan of twisting things and insist he was right, then drop it entirely and just repeat his original point ignoring any further questions from me. I was seeing that the church was clearly full of it, but still had the core beliefs in God. Christians who converted know how hard that last bit is to let go of.
I hope reading excerpts from these posts concerning why people became atheist will encourage you not only to pray for them but also to take seriously your responsibility to equip yourself and the next generation with answers from God’s Word. I’m thrilled that next year Answers in Genesis will release its first Sunday school curriculum for the entire family. Answers Bible Curriculum will equip people from age 2 to 102 to defend God’s Word through apologetics based teaching of the entire Bible. Find out more by visiting the website.
I’m going on vacation for the next two weeks to enjoy the Christmas season with my family and friends. But don’t fear—I’ve planned ahead, and blogs will still be posted on their usual days! I’ll still be checking in with Facebook (especially now that I have my iPhone), so I hope to “see” you there.