My Deconversion

I’ve written a much longer version of this on other blogs in the past, but I find it rather tedious, especially the parts before I deconverted. Those deal mostly with leaving the Charismatic realm of wackos. But I did find this quote which will give you an idea of our mindset after about a year of not attending church on a regular basis (circa 2000):

“The good news is that our faith in God is as strong as ever, even as we rethink our understanding of what a church is/is not. His Word is still our guide and always will be. It is a strange place to be in, but we are not in any sort of emotional trauma”

It was true that we were not traumatized in any way, and that is key since it is often the assumption people make when they hear you left the church. They can’t imagine any other scenario besides “who hurt you?” It is also true that our faith was still strong, although it was quite presumptuous to proclaim that the bible would ‘always’ be our guide. That part was only true for another three years or so.

I eventually latched on to Preterism as a theology that better explained the whole End Times thing, but then it led me down an unexpected path. Preterism includes an emphasis on literal vs symbolic meanings and interpretations. It is inherent, because they believe that the ‘Second Coming’ of Jesus has already occurred, but that it happened spiritually, not physically. But when you start applying this logic to the whole Bible, it becomes difficult to maintain a fundamentalist view. As one site put it, “Does global language in the Bible always indicate universal or worldwide events?” And that is how I came to doubt the story of Noah and the global flood.

There were two issues to resolve. The first was the Preterist argument that the flood was local, not global. I found that to be ridiculous on its face. Sure, a few people and animals die in any flood, almost always from a flash flood. But an entire local ecosystem? Picture an area of any size surrounded by mountains. Inside is basically a valley. So what would happen if it rained so hard that within forty days the entire basin was filled until the water spilled out at the low point? What would the inhabitants of the valley do? I’ll tell you what they would do - they would climb the nearest mountain to either side of that low point and walk away! And if you don’t kill all the people and animals, you completely destroy the whole point and motivation of the story of Noah.

The second issue to resolve came up during my research into the whole flood debate. This one was brought up by scientists - geologists, physicists, mathematicians, etc. All it requires really is some math and geometry. Imagine two spheres. One is the main surface of the earth at sea level. The other is a sphere big enough to contain the top of Mt. Everest. (it would actually need to be bigger, in order to match the account in Genesis) That is the area which you would need to fill in order to have a literal global flood which no human could survive. It is the area which Creationists claim was, in fact, filled according to a literal interpretation of Genesis. Math tells us that this volume of water would require an additional 4.5 trillion cubic kilometers of water! Two questions – first, where did this water come from? The Bible does not state that God just created and then 'disappeared' the water. It claims, very specifically, that it came from underground springs and rain clouds. Second, where did it go? The Bible claims that the water receded for ten months before the tops of the mountains became visible! Neither question has a good answer. On top of that, you have multiple other issues, such as most of our atmosphere boiling off after having been pushed an additional five kilometers away from the surface of the planet.

I was left to conclude that the Genesis flood was neither local nor global – it was simply impossible, improbable even. Most likely a complete myth or legend, at best a cautionary tale presented as real but intended as symbolic. You know, like Aesop’s fables…

And who would ever devote their life to following fables as a religion, intentionally? Not me. Soon I could see similar problems with many stories in Genesis. The Exodus? Holy crap, they were describing a freakin’ volcano! Creation? Stolen from other cultures. It wasn’t long before my entire belief system lay in ruins. It was freeing, it was mind-blowing. It was 2003 when I finally realized I had become an atheist.