Image by play4smee via FlickrRecently, I posted an exchange (just one of several) between myself and my cousin. The comments that I received from many of you here on Ex-Christian.Net helped me formulate a 'new' approach. I responded to my cousin with a more deferential tone. I really do think, that he thinks he is acting out of Love and Care for me (the Prodigal). I threw in some 'reason' about the Bible and how it came into being. I assumed that 'this' time he would 'hear' me and understand my heart. It seems that those hopes have been dashed as well. Read the exchange below.
My dear Cousin,
I am truly touched by your concern for me. I hope that we can remain
loving, caring relatives. I am saddened that you continue to MIS-judge my
words. I don't know how to make it any clearer to you. My vocabulary only
goes so far and perhaps you cannot sense my true attitudes through just
One last try, here goes:
I did NOT leave Christianity because of what Christians did to me! I used
to teach and preach, "you can't look at Christians, only look at Christ.
Christians will fail you, Christ never will!" and many other such related
ideas. I get it! I really appreciate your humility and what you attempted
to do 'In the name of Christianity', when you apologized for what Christians
may have done to me. It was a kind and loving gesture. Thank You. I did
not mean to hurt you by calling it 'silly'.
I left Christianity (and may I say, it was not without MUCH agony...it was
like dying a long, painful DEATH) because I found that it was not REAL. For
me it was mostly about coming to an understanding of the Bible and how it
was written and assembled by MEN, hundreds of years after Jesus (supposedly)
lived, for political reasons. I read real scholars such as Bart D. Ehrman,
Rubenstein, Pagels, etc., etc. I studied how and who came together at the
first council of Nicea (in the 4th century) and how they had to put aside
their fighting and bring ALL of their respective, writings, dogmas, myths,
and beliefs to Nicea, under Constantine, to formulate a NEW Religion; to
unify the empire and end the bickering. These 'holy' men, hated each other.
They were murderers, adulterers; raging lunatics. These were the Priests
and Religious leaders of that time, who were invited to Nicea (highly
simplified)(sorry for the run-on sentence).
Then, in the 7th century, the Holy Catholic Church said (paraphrased) "those
Bozo's didn't know what they were doing", so they got together and did it
all over again and changed everything! The names of Matthew, Mark and Luke
were ascribed to 3 accounts, that we know all derived from one document,
referred to as 'Q'.
Why all the contradictions? Why all of the confused, non-sense? Why does
the story so closely resemble so many other, more ancient, religious and
mythological stories, i.e. Virgin Birth, God born on earth to become man,
dies, raises from the dead, returns to the heavens, will come back again.
Some of these, thousands of years older than Christianity!? And that, not to
mention, Luther and his changes! O.K., enough of that.
Let me ask you a question. If God knew that the Bible was to become the
foundation for us as humans; if it would be how his plan of Salvation was
revealed to the world; why didn't he write it himself? If he wrote the 10
commandments on stone tablets; why not leave us with the whole thing? How do
you know that Joseph Smith and Mohammed weren't also writing as they were
led by the Holy Spirit? If Jesus was God in the Flesh; why didn't he write
the Bible? Why didn't he at least turn to one of the disciples and say
"Write this down!"? Now, with T.V. and the Inter-net; why not just 'Reveal'
himself to the world? It would end all of the Wars, it would show us all,
once and for all, Who he is and What he wants!
WHY DID HE ONLY REVEAL HIMSELF TO BRONZE-AGED, SUPERSTITIOUS TRIBESMEN IN
THE MIDDLE EAST? WHY, WHY, WHY?... He didn't, IT'S NOT
Anyway, I don't mean to Rant. I am excited about finally finding TRUTH! I
can tell you exactly where I was, in Phoenix, when it Hit me like a Tons of
Bricks and I exclaimed, "That's It! Now I get it, now it all makes sense!"
What a blessed moment in time, I was truly BORN AGAIN!
I AM HAPPY! I AM NOT ANGRY! I AM A MUCH, MUCH BETTER HUMAN BEING THAN I
WAS AS A CHRISTIAN! I DO NOT HATE!
I LOVE! I HAVE BEEN BORN AGAIN!! I AM FREE, I DON'T LIVE IN FEAR AND GUILT
ANYMORE!! PEOPLE LIKE ME!! I LIKE PEOPLE!!
I DON'T JUDGE!!
Please STOP telling me what you think I AM, and LISTEN TO MY WORDS! I Love,
I am Happy, I make people happy, I am Excited about Living, I don't fear
How many more ways can I say it? I hope you understand.
May I suggest you contact my sister's oldest son, R. S.
He is younger and more intelligent than I. He also has given up the
ministry and Christianity. Perhaps he can relate the reality of what we
have become, better than I. I know that he is insanely, happy and fulfilled
since he de-converted. His web-address is..........
Of course, you may continue writing me, if you choose, and feel free to
share my writings with anyone you wish, just don't edit. Let me speak for
Thanks for Caring.
Response from my cousin, the Pastor
The irony of your most recent letter, is that it arrives on the morning I am preparing to preach the funeral later today, of a friend (52 years old who just had a massive sudden heart attack) of whom I have the deepest and most profound confidence, that he is with his Savior Jesus Christ right now in heaven. I was re-reading Don Piper's book "90 Minutes in Heaven" early this morning alongside my Bible. And to say I am thinking of you and praying for you would be the understatement of the year...
But I realize after reading your latest litany of unbelief and atheism there is nothing apparently I can say that you don't have an argument of rebuttal for. And I am left with a profound and deep eternal sadness for you. I have long enjoyed a personal, intimate and incredibly deep relationship with Jesus who has in every way possible way imparted to me HOPE of unending eternal life with Him. No one can take from me my living, eternal and absolute faith in and love for Jesus. It would be easier for me to doubt you exist, than to doubt my God exists. I will live for Him, and if He wills it, I would gladly suffer martyrdom for Him and His Gospel.
I am left with the conviction that you knew about Jesus Christ, but you never deeply experienced what has marked my life for nearly 4 decades. You never truly knew, deeply knew Jesus.
Your lack of faith in Him, and your present state of "intellectual attainment", cannot explain away THE JESUS CHRIST WHOM I KNOW AND LOVE AND WORSHIP AND SERVE AND ADORE. You profess happiness and even excitement over your intellectual discovery of truth, as you speak against God's Word, the Word I love, The Word which God has exalted above His very Name.
So there is nothing more I can say. All our exchanges would only move us closer to the obvious. The gulf between us now is great and irreparable unless you find repentance! I preach and stand opposed to everything you represent. Everything. I've heard all your arguments in my years at a secular university. (The University of Oregon) I've heard it all and read it all, so nothing you say is new to my hearing. Anymore than my words of Faith and Love for Jesus Christ are new to you. I gather from your every letter, that you consider me and those like me as intellectually inferior, duped and illogical. I consider you apostate, blasphemous and now an enemy of the cross of Christ. Sigh. Unending sighs. (And you take delight and joy in one of your sister's children following along the same path as you???? )
And on and on and on we could go, but I see no point to it except as I already pointed out, a further and deepening galvanizing of what we have both decided to live for and apparently die holding on to.
I say this with no arrogance, but only deep, pleading, begging sadness Danny. We will both find out who is right when we die. If you are right (and you are not) I have lost nothing. If I am right (and His Word is True) you have lost everything.
You know where I'm at if you ever want to find a pathway back to faith in God. ( I have a whole shelf of brilliantly written godly books giving solid historic, prophetic, archaeological, etc. evidence of the truth of God's Eternal Word.)
I know where you are at if I ever want to find a pathway into humanism, agno-atheism. (I know you have the books to provide evidence there is no God, no heaven, no hell, and nothing more beyond the grave.)
I know it's a childish statement. But I just wish and long to have the old Danny back. The one I sat around my kitchen table with, so long ago, and we dreamed and invisioned a future of serving Christ and reaching a generation so in need of The Gospel. I never dreamed you would become an enemy of the cross by disavowing the very Christ who died there for you and me. Deep eternal sadness.
Goodbye for now Danny...I promise you before the God whom I love and serve, I will pray for you alongside your Mom and your brother until the Lord takes me home...
So there it is. Should I keep trying or just give up? Will he ever hear me? What do you all think........