Glenton Jelbert shares a chapter from his book that examines evidence in the bible that tackles Christian arguments and reflects his journey as a former Christian.
This is an excerpt from the Introduction of Evidence Considered: A Response to Evidence for God (available here). Over the coming weeks, I will be posting a few sample chapters, building up to the release of the full book.
I was a Christian for more than three decades. I had the usual questions and experiences but held fast through them all. The feeling of struggling to understand the Bible or of feeling like your prayers go nowhere is somewhat familiar to Christians, I think. But I held on because I believed that there was convincing evidence for the claims of the Bible. I believed that people had witnessed Jesus alive again and then gone on to be tortured to death, rather than admit that they had not seen him. I read, I studied, I led Bible study groups, I went to church, and I prayed despite the long, dark nighttime of the soul. I was determined to be the “good and faithful servant.”
One day in the middle of 2015, a question popped into my head: What do atheists make of the evidence for the resurrection? I had read many popular books by atheists but felt that none of them adequately addressed that question specifically. Of course, such books exist, and with the internet, it was easy enough to find them.
I was unafraid of the truth. I was sure that I would find the gaping holes in their arguments, and the cognitive dissonance that atheists must have to hold their worldview together. I was convinced that my faith would only get stronger as a result of this study. It rocked my world to discover that within a couple of months I was ready to become an atheist. It shocked me, even more, to find out that I had a greater sense of contentment than I had ever had before. The journey from one to the other was disquieting at first, and so I started to write. After all, Christianity had been a large part of my identity.
Many atheists dismiss religion on general grounds, saying for instance that the atheist and the Christian are both atheists when it comes to the vast majority of religions (Ra, Jupiter, Odin, etc.), but the Christian suddenly loses their skepticism when it comes to this one set of claims. Whatever the merits of this approach are, I have not followed it here. The issue is that it causes the two sides not to engage with each other. Christianity is the dominant religion of the culture in which I live, and so I wanted to tackle Christian arguments directly, robustly and with integrity.
Key points include:
- Atheist vs. agnostic
- Evidence for God
- Dismissing religion on general grounds
Read the full article, Introduction to Evidence Considered, on GlentonJelbert.com.