Why do Christian apologists keep saying this?
I know very few former Christians who could honestly point to science as the thing that shook their faith. Most people hardly think about, or even understand the most crucial debates between theologians and scientists; it’s enough that someone on their side has an argument to offer at all. When we want to believe, we make those pieces fit. And the more complicated it sounds, the easier it is.
But science is a method for finding answers. Not the answer itself. So when Christians ask not only us, but their own to not trust science…. it’s just another way of saying that we should never question the answers Christians have already provided. It’s one thing to disagree with a conclusion that was found by means outside of the Bible, but it is quite another to rule out the process for getting there altogether. After all, science allows us to debate our conclusions– and even to start over and try again if necessary. That sounds far more trustworthy than a method which constantly tells us to never ask questions.
Science will always lead to more questions than answers, and science becomes more trustworthy each time it is proven wrong. Science can never lose. Science does not offer “the other option” in opposition to God; it offers infinite options, most of which we haven’t even dreamed of yet. The Christian narrative is that we have somehow narrowed the meaning of life down to two possibilities: the current scientific theory, and God.
That, my friends, is a lie.
If you are speaking to believers about how flawed scientific thinking is, you will no doubt inspire many of them; but don’t fool yourself into believing you offer answers for those who have doubts. Real doubt isn’t about science. And for believers, it isn’t even about the existence of God. It’s about questioning our interpretation of God, and asking questions like: “How much of what I believe is manmade? Is it possible that God is being used to fill in what we don’t know? And if so, is it for some things—or all things? Which things? Do we really know God at all?”
Sometimes I would ponder the endless tiny holes my brain was drawn to; like how there really is no compelling reason to believe the words of Paul are equivalent to the words of God (and what that would mean). Or how the Bible tells us almost nothing about the afterlife or recognizing our loved ones in Heaven. Those are fair things to wonder about. Would God judge me for thinking about such things?
“Proof” of the Bible’s overall validity can be hard enough to swallow, but when you break down the details…. Well, few Christian apologists would recommend doing that. It’s an “all or nothing” thing, I guess. But when I present these questions, inevitably at least one Christian will ignore everything I say and turn the conversation toward science and the holes in the theory of evolution.
Who taught them that atheists exist because of the theory of evolution? Do they think there is some argument against evolution which somehow proves Christianity? Is that where the Christian answers about Paul and eternity will suddenly appear as truth for me? The best Christian apologists know the difference between “inspiring the troops” and answering the one who is desperately clinging to a disappearing definition of God.
I have been accused of choosing faith in science over faith in God; but science represents “everything else” now that the one specific option of God makes no sense to me. That is hardly a choice one makes.
Christians, if you think you are ready to answer the questions of someone in a true faith crisis (or who has lost faith altogether), then you don’t understand the depth of the inquiry. And you shouldn’t want to. Anyone who is asking can probably offer the most convincing argument for Christianity you have ever heard. They are searching for a better answer– and they have been actively seeking that better answer with an intensity you have never required. You are going to need to catch up.
At some point Christians must rely on faith to come to any conclusion, because there is always room for doubt. That space will exist no matter how much you insist otherwise. Remember, faith is not evidence of God. It is a conclusion drawn before its time.
Some Christians are so afraid of doubt, they become angry with ex-Christians like me for revealing its very existence. They use the Bible to tell us we are wrong in a dozen different ways. But those of us who once searched in vain, with all the bias in the world for our beloved Christian faith…. we are not satisfied with those answers, either. We know the Bible is wrong about us. The verses explaining why we turn from faith may comfort a believer; but for us, they are only a reminder of how untrustworthy the Bible really is. This is another example of “inspiring the troops.”
I am always open for discussing lost faith with Christians, and I have never asked someone to stop believing. But sometimes it is overwhelming how many Christians respond with anger, and then throw the same worthless verses at me. Is anyone listening at all? If the only conversation you can offer is to tell me I am wrong and then write paragraphs designed to inspire yourself– why bother?
Christian friend, you have never addressed doubt at all. Sure, you have thrown stones at it. Mocked it. You have held the Bible up to it and wondered if it could see its reflection. But you still cannot define it.
And when you talk about science and creation, you are never making a case against doubt. Your arguments are nothing more than talking points designed to defend a literal interpretation of Genesis—one of many books designed to keep your definition of God as narrow as possible. And the only thing that is a bigger red flag to me than your narrow definition of God, is your requirement that I never question it.
But that’s what faith in God requires, right?
I doubt it.