Your Anti-Testimony

From: Will Smith []
Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2002 6:28 PM

Greetings. I just found your site and read your anti-testimony, as well as
the testimonies of many others on your site. I am still a Christian, but have
gone through much of what you yourself have, and I can say that I, too, have
"lost my original faith", just not quite the same way you did.
I was raised in an Independent Baptist Church (which means to the right of
Southern Baptists) and also spent much time reading Seventh Day Adventist
literature. I believed that the 1611 King James Bible was the "infallible,
inerrant word of God" and that anyone who didn't believe so was going to
hell. Furthermore, we were saved by faith, not works. The services were dry
and booring. Jesus was always portrayed as one having and showing no emotion.
I was told that the earth was made in six days and that the earth was only
six-thousand years old. The church I went to had four barren walls and wooden
pews to sit on. No matter how a sermon started off, it always turned into:
"your going to hell if you don't get right with God right now." And, of
course, one day we were going to be "raptured" away into heaven.
One stressing point in particular was my love of art and the Second
Commandment, or rather, how it was explained to me. "No graven image" meant
there should be no depictions of Jesus, the Apostles, etc. in the church
I can sympathize with you as far as struggling with puberty and adolescence
and the faith as I understood it. Jesus had said, “You have heard that it was
said, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ (Exod 20:14; Deut 5:18)
28 But I say to you, anyone who stares at a woman with lust for her has
already committed adultery with her in his heart."-Matt. 5:27-28. (I know now
that Jesus was referring to married men and women in the context of this
verse, but that wasn't how it was explained to me then. It is a shame that
many churches teach or imply that human sexuality is somehow evil or sinful.
However, the Song of Solomon shows that not to be the case.)
I too struggled with the inconsistencies and contradictions in the Bible as
did many of my friends. Many of us went from church to church seeking
answers, only to be confronted with the same. I then turned to the history of
the church for the answers which I was looking for, reading books such as
"The Oxford History of Christianity". In the end, I discovered that the
Church Fathers who chose the books that were to be known as "The Bible" were
well aware of the differences in the accounts of Jesus' life contained in the
gospels, as were the Jews who already had included the books of 1 and 2
Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 and 2 Chronicles in the Hebrew Bible were aware
of the differences in the accounts of the history of Israel. The
Greek-speaking Jews and Christians of old were also aware of the differences
between the Greek and Hebrew versions of the Bible. There was no problem with
having differing accounts of events because the notion of "infallible,
inerrant word of God" hadn't been invented yet. It is in truth a late novelty
(as is the belief in the "rapture") that is alien to the greater part of
I also found that art had long been a part of the Church; from frescoes
dating from the second century, sculptures and mosaics to the chants, music,
and stained glass pictures found in most churches today. In context, the
Second Commandment only refers to making idols of God, and worshiping as
I and several others also took an interest in reading everything we could
about evolution, the big bang, natural selection, the Neandertals, etc., and
I am still fascinated by the earth and everything in it, as well as the
vastness of the universe and all in it.
As I said before, I discovered the Song of Solomon, which leaves no doubt
that those of old never considered human sexuality to be sinful. I found
where Paul had written, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither
slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in
Christ Jesus."-Gal. 3:28; and, "Is God the God of the Jews only? Is he not
the God of the Gentiles, too? Yes, of the Gentiles, too."-ROM. 3:29. Also,
"For whenever Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the
law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the
law. They show that what the law requires is written in their hearts, a fact
to which their own consciences testify, and their thoughts will either accuse
or excuse them.."ROM. 2:14-15. These verses, as well as several other quotes
from Paul, that the true faith is an inclusive one, where everyone has the
opportunity to be saved. I have since made many friends of other faiths and
am also convinced that from reading passages about "hell" that the
condemnation mentioned is for those who know right from wrong and choose to
do evil.
Paul's letter to Philemon, admonishing him to free his slave, Onesimus, and
to accept him as a brother is another example of the kind of faith I now
have, which is not based on believing certain doctrines and having what I
call a "head-knowledge faith" where a person believes that if he just knows
the right idea, he will be saved by that mental process. That is the kind of
shallow, superficial "faith" that I lost, along with several of my Christian
friends. The faith I now have is one in which equality of all, social
justice, and love for all in word and deed, today and every day, is more
important than whether I believe the earth is 6,000 years old or
four-billion; or whether the King James or the New International Version is
the only true bible.
I highly recommend several books by Philip Yancey, namely, "The Jesus I Never
Knew", "Dissapointment With God", and "Where Is God When It Hurts?" for
further reading on losing ones faith in order to find it.

From: Will Smith

Mr. Smith,

Thanks for the email!

I hope you have found what you are looking for. If you read "Losing Faith in Faith" by Dan Barker, a former minister, you may find you have much in common with him.


Dave VanAllen

Pageviews this week: