I sometimes read articles from mainstream conservative pastors and theologians. One of these is the famous Doug Wilson who blogs at Blog and Mablog. Well, recently he was attacked by a secular left feminist named Sarah Stankorb. I looked over her recent articles, and a pattern emerged about what she – and the women she writes about – think that Christianity is about.
Here’s an article entitled “These Evangelical Women Are Abandoning Trump and Their Churches”.
She talks about a woman named Katie Loveland, who leaves her church for the following reasons:
- If a church allows a man to act like a fool towards women, then Christianity is false.
- If a church allows a man who has passed a background check and holds a concealed carry permit to be armed so he can protect church members from attacks like this one, then Christianity is false.
- If Christians support a politician who has a pro-life record of demonstrated achievements over a politician who promises to remove all state and local restrictions on abortion from conception to birth, then Christianity is false.
And another woman named Elaina Ramsey, and her reasons for rejecting Christianity:
- If Christianity requires you to disagree with your gay and queer friends, then Christianity is false.
- If Christians refuse to marry you because you’ve been raped, then Christianity is false.
- If the Bible records (and condemns) the rape of Bathsheba by David, then Christianity is false.
- If Christianity teaches that murdering humans is wrong, and science says that the unborn are human, then Christianity is false.
And more about another woman named Deirdre Sugiuchi, and her reasons for rejecting Christianity:
- If your father claims to be a Christian and spanks you, then Christianity is false.
- If you are sent to an abusive Christian reform school for being rebellious, then Christianity is false.
- If Christianity feels anti-gay, anti-black or anti-woman, then Christianity is false.
- If the United States opposes Al Qaeda for carrying out the 9/11 attack, then Christianity is false.
Are you seeing a pattern here?
It turns out that a lot of emotion-based people claimed to be Christians and were accepted as “Christian”, without any rational basis for believing it. And later on, when Christianity made them feel bad about being reckless and irresponsible, or when it loses them non-Christian friends, then they abandoned it. It’s not that they discovered that Christianity is illogical. It’s not that they discovered evidence to falsify Christian truth claims. Their stated reasons for leaving Christianity are entirely subjective. And none of the reasons do the work of falsifying core Christian truth claims, such as God’s existence, the inspiration of the Bible, or the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus.
Just to review, here are some of the reasons why authentic Christians believe in Christian theism:
- scientific evidence for the origin of the universe
- scientific evidence for cosmic fine-tuning
- scientific evidence for the origin of life
- scientific evidence for habitability
- scientific evidence for sudden origin of body plans
- scientific evidence for molecular machines
- scientific evidence for irreducible complexity
- the argument from consciousness
- the argument from objective morality
- the historicity of the resurrection of Jesus
These arguments – and many more like them – are defended by scholars in books published by top academic presses. But I see no evidence that emotion-based ex-Christians have ever read such books. Why would they? They aren’t interested in forming their worldview based on objective reality. They aren’t interested in constructing a life plan where their desire for happiness comes second to following Jesus.
People who abandon Christianity because of feelings or experiences have not “left Christianity”. They just stopped faking being Christians. They were never actually Christian in the first place. To be a Christian in the first place, you have to know that Christianity is true. People who accept the arguments for Christianity listed above have just as many disappointments with God, bad experiences with Christians, and bad experiences with churches as people who were guided by their emotions and experiences.
In fact, I personally know women who grew up fatherless, or had defective parents, or other setbacks. They got themselves into a lot of trouble with churches and immoral men, and yet today, not only are they solid Christians, but they actually take the lead in gospel enterprises, such as apologetics. Why? Because for them, the objective truth of Christianity was more important than their subjective feelings and experiences.
The differences between Christians and non-Christians is that Christians overlook bad feelings, shame and rejection, because we know facts don’t care about our feelings. For real Christians, the normal Christian life requires bad feelings, disappointments, bad experiences and rejection by non-Christians. We actually read the Bible, and so we expect bad things to happen to us.
Note: if you are relying on someone to act in a Christian way – say, as a marriage partner – then you’d better find out what kind of “Christian” they are, by asking them how they arrived at their beliefs. Do not marry a fake Christian who just reads romance novels and fiction. A person can’t determine the truth of Christianity by focusing on career, travel, entertainment, promiscuity, etc.