How I Lost My Faith in God
Welcome to "My Deconstruction Blog". This blog is about my journey from being a totally committed Christian to where I find myself now, a spiritual wanderer disillusioned by the collapse of my faith in the Church, my faith in the Bible, and my faith in God. This post is about my loss of faith in God.
Do you like magic? I do! I like close-up magic such as card tricks and coin tricks. I like prop magic. I like stage magic. I like the tricks where the person seems to have mental powers.
One of my favorite tricks to do is a (fake) demonstration of telekinesis where I move a pencil without touching it, using my (not really) mental abilities to manipulate the invisible electromagnetic fields that surround physical objects.
Of course it is all fake when I do it. It is possible that some people have real mental powers, but most magicians are fakes like me.
If you want to see an example of a fake psychic getting exposed by a skeptic, the clip below is a good one. The psychic's name is Hydrick and he claims to have the ability to move objects with his mind. Please watch the video now before reading the rest of this blog.
Million Dollar Challenge
James Randi is one of many skeptics that do not believe in supernatural or paranormal abilities. Randi founded a skeptical group that will pay a million dollars to anyone who can demonstrate any supernatural or paranormal ability under agreed-upon scientific testing criteria.
If Hydrick had such special powers, the video above would have been the perfect time to show it. The skeptic Randi would have become a believer, and Hydrick would have collected $10,000 in the process. (The video was recorded in the 1980s. The size of the prize was raised to $100,000 a few years later, and then raised to one million dollars in 1996. The million dollar prize is still available to anyone today who can demonstrate a supernatural or paranormal ability under agreed-upon scientific testing criteria.)
Even after Hydrick was unable to demonstrate his abilities in a controlled environment, there were people who still believed he had psychic powers and they gave excuses for him, blaming the lights, or blaming Randi's disbelief, or claiming that Hydrick does not work like this, saying people should just "have faith" in Hydrick and "simply believe".
The million dollar challenge is not just limited to people who claim telekinesis powers. Thousands of people have been tested, with ability claims of mind reading, mind control, predicting the future, aura reading, astral projection, extra sensory perception (ESP), clairvoyance, remote viewing, speaking with the dead, telepathy, and water dowsing (to name a few).
None did any better than Hydrick.
But surely God can pass this simple test, right?
Think about it. Does your church need some money? No problem, just ask God to move a pencil for you in a controlled environment. You will leave the testing center with a million dollar check. After all, Jesus himself said,
"Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matt 17:20)
If God can move a mountain, surely He can move a pencil, right?
Only he can't. Or he won't.
I lost my faith in God when I realized that God cannot (or will not) move a pencil in a controlled environment.
I have been a Christian since I was a sophomore in high school when I had what I thought was a divine experience of God meeting me and loving me and accepting me and challenging me to be fully the person I was created to be. Over the next 35 years I submitted myself to the teaching of Christian doctrine and to the study of scripture. When questions and doubts arose, they were always swayed by my experience and by my hope that with enough study those questions and doubts would be resolved.
My faith in God survived 35 years of complicated theological arguments.
My faith in God survived 35 years of mental gymnastics regarding biblical scholarship.
My faith in God survived 35 years of twisted-pretzel logic regarding God's will.
But my faith in God could not survive the reality that God can't or won't move a pencil.
It has been a painful loss. I lack the words to describe it well. This blog is part of my self-therapy.
Can I still be a Christian if I don't believe in a God who gives parking places at the mall during Christmas? Can I still be a Christian if I don't believe that God helps my team win football games? Can I still be a Christian if I don't believe that God is creating physical blessings and physical curses based on how people behave?
Can I still be a Christian if I do not think the Bible is the inerrant, infallible Word of God?
I don't know. I'm not even sure I care.
I just know I am being honest with myself, and I can live with that.