On My Non-Belief

From a recent e-mail exchange where I asked why I believe what I believe:

I think my path from believer to non-believer was fairly typical. I was raised not only with a religion I believed, but also a love of science. As a kid I not only read the Bible, but enjoyed science books and television shows. I also became involved in computers quite young, which demands a rigor of logical thought I grew to love. Eventually my earnest study of religion led me to realize that the Bible stories, and believers’ interpretations of them, were not as seamless as they were made out. Believing that the truth could not harm me I continued to pursue answers, and intellectually (if not outwardly) refused to accept the unsatisfying “pat answers” offered by theologians. Eventually I realized that religions could never withstand the same empirical scrutiny that scientists, engineers, and even historians routinely demanded of their practices— that ultimately the question of faith was personal and non-rational, and that religious faith required a leap that I was not prepared to make. In fact, I finally felt compelled to “unmake” the leap that I had uncritically taken since my childhood indoctrination. In the course of a few years I went from a strong believer, to a Doubting Thomas, to an unbeliever. My current position is not fixed in stone either: I remain open to going back “the other way” should compelling evidence or arguments present themselves, but so far, despite continued examination of the topic, this has not happened.

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