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A few years ago on this blog I conducted a survey of sorts. I asked my readers to tell me their one or two biggest challenges to staying Christian. Including private emails, I got about 300 responses, many of them heartfelt and moving. I honor your courage and honesty!

My intention for writing the post was to give people the space to express themselves in a spirit of trust and group support for the ultimate purpose of encouraging a continued walk of faith, however that might be configured in each person’s experience, community, or theological tradition.

Since that original post, I continue to get a lot of emails from people who want to express their faith struggles, and so I thought I’d repost the results and give a new batch of readers a chance to chime in.

To utter one’s deepest doubts fears about their faith is for some only slightly less risky that buying heroin on a street corner, and such fear is too common a phenomenon in the various iterations of conservative Protestantism, i.e., for traditions that value intellectual certitude as a foundation for faith. For a variety of reasons (which need not detain us here), this approach to the life of faith is not viable for a considerable element of the Christian population.

Talking about it should be encouraged, not squelched, for it unloads a burden, which is a first step to at least getting some perspective.

To be clear, in your comments, if you want them to get posted, I am asking you to focus on what you see as challenges and how you navigate them (or don’t), and not on what you think others should do or not do about them. Don’t solve the issue, don’t defend the faith—they’ve probably heard all the solutions, anyway. Respect the journey.

Neither is this the place for former Christians to flex their muscles and inform the rest of us that these challenges lead to one and only one “logical” conclusion. Quick and easy answers in either direction dishonor the experience.

As you can see below, I collated the responses under 5 categories, though these should not be seen as rankings  (except for the first, I suppose, which seems to be the overarching stressor). I am simply summarizing what I saw as the themes that came up.

So here are the 5 main challenges I saw in your comments.

1. The Bible, namely inerrancy.

This was the most commonly cited challenge, whether implicitly or explicitly, and it lay behind most of the others mentioned.  The pressure many of you expressed was the expectation of holding specifically to an inerrant Bible in the face of such things as biblical criticism, contradictions, implausibilities in the biblical story, irrelevance for life (its ancient context), and the fact that the Bible is just plain confusing.

2. The conflict between the biblical view of the world and scientific models.

In addition to biological evolution, mentioned were psychology, social psychology, evolutionary psychology, and anthropology. What seems to fuel this concern is not simply the notion that Scripture and science offer incompatible models for cosmic, geological, and human origins, but that scientific models are verifiable, widely accepted, and likely correct, thus consigning the Bible to something other than a reliable description of reality.

3. Where is God?

 A number of you, largely in emails, wrote of personal experiences that would tax to the breaking point anyone’s faith in a living God who is just, attentive, and loving. Mentioned were many forms of random/senseless suffering and God’s absence or “random” presence (can’t count on God being there).

4. How Christians behave.

Tribalism, insider-outsider thinking; hypocrisy, power; feeling misled, sheltered, lied to by leaders; a history of immoral and unChristian behavior towards others (e.g., Crusades, Jewish pogroms). In short, practically speaking, commenters experienced that Christians too often exhibit the same behaviors as everyone else, which is more than simply an unfortunate situation but is interpreted as evidence that Christianity is not true—more a tool to gain power than a present spiritual reality.

5. The exclusivism of Christianity.

Given 1-4 above, and in our ever shrinking world, can Christians claim that their way is the only way?

These issues aren’t new. We all know that. They keep coming up, which is sort of the point. I understand that some may feel they have found final and universally applicable answers to these issues, but the fact that these issues don’t go suggests that the answers aren’t all that persuasive.

Whatever the reason, in my opinion, opening up and talking about these things with others on the Christian path should not be the exception but the rule.

[Comments are moderated and may take 24 hours to appear. Since the original post, I developed these ideas more in The Bible Tells Me So and The Sin of Certainty.]

Pete Enns, Ph.D.

Peter Enns (Ph.D., Harvard University) is Abram S. Clemens professor of biblical studies at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He has written numerous books, including The Bible Tells Me So, The Sin of Certainty, and How the Bible Actually Works. Tweets at @peteenns.

44 Comments

  • AnotherJosh says:

    All five of these categories have been a part of my thought process to greater or lesser degrees. But what I struggle with the most right now is simply not giving a flying … well, let’s say “hoot” to keep it PG. Beyond the doubts in categories 1-5, I’ve simply burned myself out with almost constant church volunteer work – I’ve hardly missed a day behind the sound board since I was 12, except for that period in college when sleeping in on Sunday morning won out.

    Add to that membership in an invisible minority that is regularly blamed for all of the worlds problems (I should take that back; we LGBT people share problems half and half with “abortion”), and I feel like I shouldn’t blame myself for getting fatigued by the whole thing (sometimes I blame myself nonetheless). Practically, because of my volunteer commitments and seat on a church board, I’m still outwardly involved, but inside I exited [conservative evangelicalism] long ago.

    • Jeff says:

      Josh, I have a lot of compassion for your situation. I grew up rigidly Southern Baptist, transitioned through college years into “non-denominational” (a self-contradicting term), and now that my children are mostly grown, I find myself struggling to hold on in Yet Another Church Fellowship. I relate so well to your comment — I’m all out of F’s to give. If it weren’t for the volunteer opportunities, I’d feel completely isolated. I’m in the buckle of the Bible belt, and a member of yet another invisible minority without any idea of what label to apply to myself. I’m happily married, my kids are healthy, I’m comfortably employed, I’m serving in the community. What’s missing? The open community where I can be myself, quirks and all, and you can be yourself, and we can accept the diversity of personality while coming together in awe and wonder at the mystery of life and love that our creator has given us. I’m so thankful for rich resources available online, like Pete’s work (THANK YOU!!), but where are my people in my town? Who wants to walk out community service, trust, vulnerability, awe, and wonder in community with me? Where are my people?

  • PastorM says:

    In regard to #1, I recall a post by the late Michael Spencer (The Internet Monk, for those who don’t know) in which he asked to whom was Paul accountable? As I have been reading through Paul of late, I wonder that too. To sound downright heretical , I feel that Paul may be wrong about some things and not real bright about others. Yet, those holding an inerrant viewpoint, would “excommunicate” me for even thinking that, much less saying it, because Paul has to be right because the Bible is inerrant. In regard to #2, is the term “biblical worldview” even useful? Is there just one “biblical worldview?” In today’s church, I see the term “biblical” as meaning that someone is “biblical” who agrees with me, and is “unbiblical” if he/she does not agree with me. Thanks for your posts. I really liked The Sin of Certainty, and am now reading The Bible Tells Me So.

    • AnotherJosh says:

      While few would outright agree to this restatement of their views, claims of the inerrancy of the Bible seem to be in fact claims that both the Bible _and_ the claimant’s interpretation thereof are without error, given the vitriolic rhetoric directed at people who disagree with any given evangelical community’s one and only true Literal Reading of Scripture™. I’m sure this was discussed in The Bible Tells Me So somewhere, which I’ve read, but my memory is very errant.

  • Tim Chambers says:

    Interesting to look back a few years and see the comments of where I was then. This burden still holds true but came to more resolution on a few points….

    >>it’s
    not the impossibilities that throw me. (Jesus as fully God and fully
    Man, The Trinity, etc) It’s the implausibilities.

    The work of de-implausifying Christianity can be a burden that makes me wonder sometimes, is disbelief itself more honest?

    The sheer number of things that need to be rethought or re-imagined to have a plausible Christianity.

    Heaven
    really isn’t a local Elysian fields-like sky-zone that Jesus literally
    ascended to– Hell isn’t really a barely renamed Tartarus below the
    earth…

    The Old Testament God really wasn’t
    pro-genocide or slavery, the Christians didn’t really believe in an
    immaterial soul that our brain science now seems to question.

    The
    Scripture really IS in some form God’s Word — a vehicle for God’s
    revelation, not just a slighty forced collection of
    religous-fictionalized-history…

    And God sometimes
    seems awfully, awfully implausibly quiet, absent or worse these days
    compared to the vision of a living God active in the world today.

    To
    be clear: I deeply, deeply believe in Jesus, Scripture as a unique
    revelation of Him and find the old Christian acrostic “Icthus” as the
    very core of my beliefs about the deepest reality —
    Jesus-Messiah-God’s-Son-Savior…

    But the biggest factor in my disbelief?

    The sheer mass of work involved in de-implausification of Christianity.<<

  • Pete, I think you know I love your articles (and books). But I find this post very exciting! More than most other posts it gets right down to where people are. Thank you for this; I look forward to seeing the responses.

  • CB says:

    I guess for me at this point no. 3 resonates the most. I look around the world in the broad sense and then the smaller world around me and see suffering and evil on a grand scale and wonder – who and where is this God? Understanding that the Bible isn’t what I was led to believe it was has changed me irrevocably and I question a lot more. Also, these days I wonder what relevance an ancient book has to life in the 21st century when we are confronting issues that were inconceivable to those writers. How can a book that was written to a basically agrarian society speak to us today. I cannot close my eyes and wish it all away, it’s too late for that.

  • Occasional Commenter says:

    The opportunity to do this, the spirit in which it is offered, both in this post and in the previous one to which it links, and the encouragement that the comments simply be allowed to be expressed, are a rare gift, in my experience. I appreciate it.

    Here are my challenges:

    1) The substance and effects of certain daily struggles. Call it trauma if you will, but whatever you call it, what I’m talking about arises out of things I’ve been through, things I’ve witnessed, things that were done to me, and, even, some of what I used to do as a result of all that. I work hard at repairing it all: I seek help, etc., but I have to face the fact that I am likely permanently affected. The experience of it all can be profoundly alienating. There is a lot of pain, and anguish, and sadness, and anger. States of confusion. Weird triggers. Leads to occasional, intense struggles with God: why can’t he make it easier, where was he, where is he. Oddly, the alienation I can feel in the present often causes me to struggle more than the awful facts of the past: those I’m more or less resigned to; the alienation I can barely abide at times.

    How I navigate that: I keep trying. I try to become more honest, to find people I can trust with parts of it. I try to adjust my expectations regarding how much understanding I can expect from people without similar experiences or professional training. I try to talk out my feelings with God. I try to maintain hope for positive change or at least greater balance.

    2) On a related note: the struggles I’m alluding to make it hard to relate to others, especially to many kinds of Christians, especially those invested in simple answers, pat responses, and blaming me. People do not seem to want to accept how much evil might actually exist “out there,” I guess, or what kind of marks it can leave. Church services – even non-fundamentalist, even where the sermons have great intellectual grounding, compassionate outlooks, etc. – come across as designed to make attenders happy, to achieve some peace. Church services don’t do that much to help with my most immediate experience and needs.

    How I navigate that: I try to be smarter about what I disclose to whom. I hope to find a group of believers with whom I can just talk – similar to the talk welcomed in this post. I hope it exists out there somewhere, so I keep looking. What to do about Sunday services? I just don’t know, but I stay away if they’re just going to frustrate me.

    3) Related reason: too many fellowships insist on being controlling. Maybe I benefit from the preaching and teaching, and can even enjoy hanging out with some of the people, but wow, crossing the threshold is treated as though I showed up and said “please, just tell me what to do, with my time, with my money, with my values, with every single opinion I *should* have, with my relationships, with work,” etc. I’m not an infant. I’m not brain dead. I don’t mind input, accompaniment, wisdom, but I was never asking to be told what to think.

    How I navigate that: I stay away from such fellowships.

    4) Related reason: too many fellowship require a belief in the inerrancy of the Bible and, on top of that, think its their business to elicit and change my views and beliefs on evolution, same sex relationships, purity codes, the divinity of Jesus, what prayers are or aren’t, etc. I don’t intend on standing up in the middle of service and challenging teaching, so why can’t I keep what I believe about certain topics between me and God?.

    How I navigate that: One Orthodox priest I like a lot wrote that it is better to believe in, and practice, the inerrancy of compassion. I look for similar attitudes. I also like Bonhoeffer’s ideas about fellowship, as expressed in Life Together. I hope to someday find a group striving for a similar approach.

    5) Related reason, as was mentioned above, how some or so many Christians can act. it is odd how the required beliefs (biblical inerrancy, being politically anti-gay, being politically anti-abortion, etc.) can be treated as so mandatory, but just acting decently towards most others about anything can be treated as so optional.

    How I navigate that: I look for people who make a habit of examining themselves, who show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts. I myself am no prize to deal with, I realize, and my struggles make me even more difficult than most, maybe, but I work hard at changing and need to be around others who are willing to assess themselves and try to change as well.

    There you have it.

    • charlesburchfield says:

      I think you have a good handle on the situation. Many things You cover in your post are helpful to me. I began to open up spiritually in the 1970s. I would call myself an existentialist/ Mystic / Pentecostal / Quaker. I don’t belong to a brand now. In my younger years I needed a container. I’m thankful for some aspects of life-preserving discipline from these, especially the Quakers, but I couldn’t stay involved in these communities of faith because None of the ones I tried ever really fit. I rather think that I was fortunate to have experienced, over a long period of time, in A diversity of religious institutions. Nowadays I have much in common with those who have been wandering but not necessarily lost, per JRR Tolkien. I use my past experiences with these denominations as a way to find common ground with others who are leaving such behind and finding all things new. We have much suffering in common in my humble opinion. a territory is opening up I feel. The hit I get from your post is you have a good outline for a survival strategy. I think the first Christians were just trying to survive Empire. The mission has always been about that I think. I think the Christian Adventure now is vouchsafed among lone individuals who are not loners but rather willing to risk being alone for a while. The work is intense!! I have a sense that I’m now and always have been in a constant struggle to haul rocks out of the highway making it more accessible to a traffic that is yet to travel over the path I’ve trod. One of the disciplines I identify with and you you mentioned in your post is “practice the inerrancy of compassion”! More needs to be written about that way of being and put into practice in the world in my humble opinion. being compassionate to oneself at the core of one’s being is essential because I don’t think you can teach what you don’t know.
      You mentioned Bonhoeffer life together. what it is about Bonhoeffer that is relevant today?

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6a394b9b4bd1135c70928a3a2d5cc4f43ddab204651b40a4336531dbd41b670d.jpg

      • Occasional Commenter says:

        Charles,
        Thanks for the encouraging reply. I hadn’t seen you on here for a while; nice to come across you now. I like the Jung quote you cite too. Glad to hear some of what I posted resonated with you.

        There is a series of statements in your reply that I find very encouraging: “I think the first Christians were just trying to survive Empire. The mission has always been about that I think. I think the Christian Adventure now is vouchsafed among lone individuals who are not loners
        but rather willing to risk being alone for a while. The work is intense!!” I like every part of that. The work is intense, in my experience, and I like how you phrase being “willing to risk being a lone for a while.”

        I find much in Bonhoeffer to be relevant today or, I should say, much in the limited amount of Bonhoeffer I know. For example, in his book Life Together, and what I had in mind in my comment, are the type of comments he makes about fellowship. Statements such as “God does not will that I should fashion the other person according to the image that seems good to me, that is, in my own image; rather in his very freedom from me God made this person in His image. I can never know beforehand how God’s image should appear in others. That image always manifests a completely new and unique form that comes solely from God’s free and sovereign creation. To me the sight may seem strange, even ungodly. But God creates every man in the likeness of His Son, the Crucified.” We get to work at unity, but do not need conformity.

        Some of the issues of a Romans 14 type of freedom and inerrancy come together for me. I have often wondered, what if it’s the Gospels – the life and words of Jesus – that contain the revelation (and not even that they’re inerrant as reported) and what’s “canonical” about the rest of the NT, if anything, is not that it is full of a new set of divinely inspired rules but that it displays how certain followers of the Gospel did everything they thought that Gospel required, in their time and in that place. The issue wouldn’t be so much whether they are “right” about everything they think. The issue is them doing everything they thought the life and words of Jesus required and inspired. Now we get to do the same. The freedom to ask such questions is inspiring to me.

        In any case, thanks for replying. All the best to you as you keep working it all out.

    • Craig Pennell says:

      I feel your pain. This journey can feel very lonely at times and it can be hard to find others willing to be honest and open about where they are. Thanks

  • Brad says:

    Building on #4, a real difficulty for me is not so much the ‘great’ evils like the Crusades, but my struggle to see real difference in the lives of so many Christians. I have noticed that non-Christians, Muslims, Atheists, etc can be just as or more, say, hospitable and kind, than many Christians. Christians so often don’t seem in any way distinct. This , more than anything else, disturbs my (Christian) faith.

    • Truth Seeker says:

      I grew up often singing “They will know we are Christians by our love” in Sunday school. Yet in reality, I see about the same ratio of loving personalities among Christians as among non-Christians. Reportedly, self-identified Christians also experience about the same divorce rate as self-identified non-Christians. I have been bothered by the theological implications of such statistics for a long time.

    • Timothy Henderson says:

      Me too. The “Well the bible says ‘Many will come in my name, and he’ll say I never knew you…’ response just rings extremely shallow to me. I really expect more of a difference in the lives of Christians, even if they are not living a 100% pure expression of faith.

  • ZZ says:

    All of these have bothered me at some point….I think the one I’m most stuck on right now is #1.

    What was used the first 300 years of Christianity? What did the disciples use for scripture?
    How did they have a “Quiet Time”?
    Why the “Pauline” way and not the “Jesus” way?
    Who decides how the Scripture is interpreted? Through what lens? Ancient cultures interpreted it how?
    We interpret it how? Why?

    I think after living overseas almost twenty years….I’ve lost a lot of my “American” Christianity.
    It’s made me question so much.

    I’m still a Believer! Just have lots and lots of questions the older I get and the longer I live outside a “Christian” bubble.

    I don’t think, ultimately, only God knows what God means. We’re to do our best with what we do understand. And sometimes, I don’t feel like I understand very much.

  • Tim says:

    All of these resonate with me to varying degrees. I honestly feel like I really have no anchor. Do I still believe in “God”? Yes, but I have absolutely no idea what that really means anymore.

    • Truth Seeker says:

      Likewise, “dark nights of the soul” can last entire lifetimes, with little evidence of the traditional Christian God relevant to them.

  • Phil Britton says:

    Totally agree that those are the 5 main challenges, and most other “issues” pretty much fall in those 5 buckets. It’s interesting, though, that if you flip the question and ask “can any of these prevent you from being a Christian,” the answer is “no.” You can have any number of opinions and beliefs on any of those reasons and still be a follower of and fascinated by Jesus.

  • Ross says:

    Yep all 5 really bother me but the biggest challenge is 3. I presume if you feel the presence of an all loving God then all things must be easier to take. The greatest help is the love of Christian friends, but some of us are not particularly good at receiving this. There must be a link between us and others and us and God. Does He reveal himself mainly through other people?

    • charlesburchfield says:

      The short answer for me has been no. I grew up almost completely surrounded by addicts of one sort of another. I grew up with no close relationships. I did not feel really loved by anyone in my family or community. What I found, to my great joy, was the beauty in nature and of a felt sense of well-being as a child. Looking back I think that that was me, in my most innocent time as a child, in the presence of a loving validating God. I guess I would say when there is no one there’s always God who loves me and shares with me the enjoying pleasure he has in creating all that exists including me. People who don’t get this can’t give you this in my humble opinion. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/40d9c7e50fbee4a995d6c55b9a40de8128e46fc6dfd781e9383088941e976561.jpg

      • Ross says:

        I sort of recognise for myself the comments you have made re not feeling loved growing up, it still deeply affects me now. As you say nature often elicits a sense of joy and thankfulness toward God. For some strange reason in the past week I wondered how God felt when he sees where his creation is blackened. Is it heresy to empathise and feel sorry for/with Him?

  • Craig Pennell says:

    My faith took a battering over the last two years. One major blow was seeing how much we rely on doctrine, and how much of that is down to interpretation (like the rapture), the other was the run up to the US elections. I’m not American and could not understand why my US friends were so set in their voting ways.

    I had to find God in the bigger picture. I had to find a way of following Jesus that was true to myself and true to the bits of the bible that actually made sense to me, like loving our enemies and showing compassion for those in need.

    I don’t have it all figured out. I’m a big fan of science. I tend to look at the universe as scientific and God’s handiwork. I love how God speaks to me through the Bible and through the world around me.

    My conclusions are for now: Jesus is worth it, and that good does not have to carry a Christian label to be of value.

    By the way I am glad I had to rethink my faith, even though it’s been painful.

  • Myron Williams says:

    Of these five the first two are what challenge me. Raised in a fundamentalist home, church, and college the first was a given. In seminary I began to question, and have continued questioning now for many years. But in reality I gave up inerrancy decades ago. What I struggle with is the book we call the Bible, its purposes, and how it was assembled and accepted as Holy Writ.

    The second challenge began when in high school in the dark ages. Something about 6 day creation, anti evolution, and 2 people starting all mankind just did not make sense. Over time and scientific study, with DNA and other scientific discoveries I changed my view of creation and its ongoing evolution. But I must be quiet around so many at the church where I work, so finding a safe place to express ideas, concerns, views is the challenge for me.

    Thanks for the insights of the survey. I know people who face all of these, and yet stat followers of Christ. How thankful I am for their witness and their transparency.

  • Jo S. says:

    Good post, great comments!

    The first big problem my quite conservative evangelical upbringing produced when I was a child was that “born again”-question… if raised in a Christian home and you always wanted to follow Jesus as you’re parents taught you as long as you could think back, how do you actually get “born again”? Leave the broad road to follow the narrow path??? I finally got “born again” many, many times as a child, because I thought this should bring a change in my life… what a caricature that was… I just wished I was a really bad sinner to finally be able to get this thing done…

    The other 5 challenges came only after that and are still alive and kicking…

  • Robert Auth says:

    I find they all resonate with me in my life journey. A subset regarding the Bible is seeming contradictions. Jesus finished work on the Cross is the completeness of salvation, no one can add to it. But in Gospel of John, Hebrews, James and a few others, several verses imply our obedience/actions DO have a part in being saved. Also, the calvinist position on election. Supposedly God has a *remnant* who are the *true believers*, that follow Jesus and Him exactly as He wants them too. How do you know if you are one of these *elect*?? You don’t. Until after death you find out. Maybe God deemed you unworhty before creating you and He causes a haze to remain over you so you will NOT be one of the elect no matter how much you plead or seek it. The only way to experience Gods perfect love, by certain interpretations, is to *die to self* symbolically, experientially and ultimately literally. Jesus learned obedience through suffering and how much more must we. These cause struggles and questions for me.

  • BMillhollon says:

    I suppose there are a number of different ways to think about the question of why remain Christian. One perspective would be to view it like immunization. You choose to receive a vaccine, say for tetanus, when your doctor, believing that it will save your life, offers it. You get poked in the arm (or elsewhere) and off you go. But a change occurs. The power of the immune system is independent of our understanding of germ theory, adaptive immunity, antibodies, T and B cells, etc. It just works and we are saved from death by lockjaw. Growing up and getting a PhD in evolutionary microbiology may cause you to wonder about what went wrong and why we need vaccinations in the first place. You might wonder about the role of industrialization on the micro biome, the evils of pasteurized milk, antibiotics, and the advantages of having chickens and a goat in your back yard, but that doesn’t change the fact of the immunity that began when you got poked as a teenager. So a seemingly small and insignificant decision to ask for life begins a powerful process. However you understand it, doubt it, worry about it, debate it, the transformative power of the spirit brings growth and change for a lifetime.

  • Garry Crites says:

    If I must be totally honest (and that always is iffy), the challenges I face as I explore the humanity of the Bible and its subsequent implications for my spiritual life, my place within the Church, and my destiny all are related to a lingering sense of fear that I have a hard time shaking. Fear of “What if the conclusions I am coming to are wrong and the fundamentalists are right?” or even worse, fear of “What if I am teaching error within or without the Church?” I fear rejection or exile at the hands of those in my denomination or in my local church. And when push comes to shove, I am afraid of what God might think of me or do to me. (After all, Jonathan Edwards tells me I am a spider held by a single thread above consuming flames.)

    You wouldn’t think that fear would be so constraining. I am a 4 ½ point Calvinist, a former pastor, and a PhD in Religion from one of the best schools in the country. But the gremlins of fear are nearly always lurking in the shadows.

    • Robert Auth says:

      Hi Garry- your post really resonates with me although i am not a calvinist 😀 I have sought to discover where the notion of hell became entrenched within orthodox doctrine??? The word *hell* is NOT anywhere in the Bible. Gehenna clearly refers to the Valley of Hinnom and Jewish belief was NOT very high on focusing on an afterlife, although many had hope for a resurrection eventually through Messiah. I have been to Bible College & Seminary, have been ordained as a minister, and I too struggle often with the same fears you mention. If i could get your response as well as any others who read this. How do you seek to implement the commands to be anxious for nothing, to let perfect love cast out fear and to let God replace a spirit of fear with a spirit of power love and discipline within you??? I have sought and sought to find answers to these and lay down my fear struggles as long as I can remember. Praise God He loves me regardless!!!

  • Joe Deutsch says:

    All of these points have been wrestled with in my journey away from fundamentalist christianity and then more mainstream evangelicalism, but none of them really made me question staying “Christian” or not. Not being a Christian was never a viable option. As I wrestled with these, I more or less hoped eventually a different option would present itself to follow Jesus. But if “they” insisted on inerrancy, that would be the one that would make me leave. Letting go of inerrancy literally (see what I did there 🙂 rescued the Bible for me. Explaining that to those who say I “don’t take the Bible seriously” is futile, but the Bible has never been more real or true to me since I let go of insisting it had to be inerrant.

    The one I struggle with the most now is #3 and I discuss with my family and friends whether God is an interventionist or not. I could fill a couple pages with my thoughts on this, but I’ll just say to keep it short that I can’t see God as an interventionist, but rather an opportunist.

    • Timothy Henderson says:

      Hi Joe! I read your comment here and thought “That’s exactly what I would have said if I knew how to say it!” Then I clicked your name and read a bunch of other previous posts. I am dying for people to talk with who are in a similar place (very hard to find!) and was wondering if you’re okay with emailing sometime? I noticed you said you’re in PA; I’m in Utah so no chance of joining the beach talks!

  • fqs says:

    I have and do wrestle with all of the points listed plus a few more. I’d likely be agnostic if during my life I hadn’t seen the supernatural side of Christianity manifest so many times. I guess that it’s lucky for me that I was converted into a stream of Christianity that still believes in those things because I wouldn’t last long as a cessationist Baptist or Presbyterian. Most of the issues I have are with the Bible. I have no trouble believing that Jesus is the glorified son of God, etc. (Except, I don’t think that He’s God. I rejected that doctrine years ago.)

  • $262448188 says:

    I have and do wrestle with all of the points listed plus a few more. I’d likely be agnostic if during my life I hadn’t seen the supernatural side of Christianity manifest so many times. I guess that it’s lucky for me that I was converted into a stream of Christianity that still believes in those things because I wouldn’t last long as a cessationist Baptist or Presbyterian. Most of the issues I have are with the Bible. I have no trouble believing that Jesus is the glorified son of God, etc. (Except, I don’t think that He’s God. I rejected that doctrine years ago.)

  • Lander7 says:

    There are no challenges to staying christian.

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