Troy, OH, USA
My story begins in the Bahamas 49 years ago. I was raised as a protestant but attended Catholic schools. I never questioned the existence of god or the authority of the bible but I wondered how and why god could be behind so many diverse religious groups.
At about 18 years of age I began to have a deep interest in understanding the origin and purpose of life. Naturally, I thought the answers to these eternal questions could be found in the religion of the bible but with such diversity in christianity I wasn’t sure where to look.
One evening I stumbled on a radio program called "The World Tomorrow" with Herbert W. Armstrong. This contact would change the course of my life and influence every major decision I would make for the next 25 years. Mr. Armstrong correctly pointed out the pre-christian origin of several mainstream christian doctrines. He also showed that christianity had lost sight of the real gospel of the kingdom of god and focused entirely on the person of Christ. He taught that god was preparing his one true church now which would then teach others in the world tomorrow. This was part of god’s plan which was all spelled out in the annual holy days. This made sense to me. God had a plan and a timetable and a church to carry it out. I became a member of the church that Mr. Armstrong founded – The Worldwide Church of God.
In 1986 Mr. Armstrong died. This came as a complete surprise to most church members, including myself. We believed that he had been called to prepare the church for the return of christ so we felt that he would live until christ returned. Soon after his death the church began a subtle movement toward protestantism, a movement that continues until now. The next few years was a period of great confusion for many people in our church. Many were opposed to the changes and left. I was still convinced at that time that god was behind Mr. Armstrong’s calling so I joined a splinter group that retained his teachings. There are now several splinter groups each with their own interpretation of what is occuring in the church. I believe that the vast majority of these are sincere dedicated people.
If there is one doctrine that is absolutely essential to christianity it has to be the resurrection. Paul said that without the resurrection your faith is in vain. About 3 years ago I found that there are a number contradictions between the gospel accounts concerning the resurrection. If this is the inspired word of god we have a serious problem. I later found that belief in a ressurrected saviour was not unique to christianity. Neither was the virgin birth. See "The World’s Sixteen Crucified Saviours" by Kersey Graves. But this was just the tip of the iceberg. I found the bible to be riddled with error. See "Bible Errancy" by Dennis Kinsey.
There are two different accounts of creation in Genesis. How come? The books of Moses appear to have written by at least four people neither of which was Moses. See "Who wrote the Bible" by Richard Elliot Friedman. Yahweh and El were ancient cannanite deities that later became the god of the bible.
If the claims of religion are true it should be the most important thing in our lives but if not it has to be the greatest deception in history. Despite the many fine people involved in religion I think the evidence will clearly show that its claims are false.
I now consider myself an agnostic. I have many unanswered questions about this experience we call life. Of one thing I am certain- those answers are not to be found in the bible. I feel that I’m in the process of reconstructing my life. I would welcome your comments.