A little more background for those who might actually stumble across this blog: I grew up as a preacher’s kid in the Church of Christ. This is a non-denominational, independent church that tries to conform to what the church of the New Testament looked like. Some hallmarks of the Church of Christ include weekly communion, baptism by immersion, baptism of adults after a decision to accept Christ as savior, etc. The idea is that the Church patterns itself after the description of the church in the New Testament and, to a lesser extent, Jesus’ behavior and teaching. This isn’t to be confused with the Mormons or the Disciples of Christ – two groups that I remember being confused with while growing up.
I remember taking for granted that I was “saved” growing up and finally being “convicted” during Nationwide Youth Roundup that I needed to be baptized when I was in high school. I was baptized in a pond at NYR and felt like I was on my way to the next level, so to speak, spiritually. However, the high from being newly baptized wore off and I realized I was still the same person and didn’t feel any different or more saved than I had prior to being baptized. Plus I still had these nagging thoughts in the back of my head. It didn’t take too much brain power to realize that those in the Church of Christ were no more special than anyone else. But I am an analytical sort and threw myself into finding proof that what I believed was true. But the proof that I found was all second-hand proof. Second-hand proof is pretty useless because the Church of Christ is pretty active in denouncing other religions and Christian denominations as being incorrect, but the nagging question was: “how do I know I’m correct?” Well, I could be confident in being right with God as a member of the Church of Christ because we depended solely on the Bible to guide us, not any mere mortal. But the more research I did led me to conclude that the Bible is no more divinely inspired than any other religious text out there. This is where one of the proofs given by the Church comes back to bite them: the argument that had Jesus not been supernatural, etc, that the Christian movement would have floundered and faded into history. But the Church insists that Joseph Smith was heretical and the Mormons do not know the true way. However, if Joseph Smith didn’t actually have some sort of meeting with the divine, why do the Mormons have such fast-growing membership? The answer? Because people believe things that are goofy and/or untrue all the time. Thus, the very idea that the Bible’s stories are supernatural are put into serious doubt.
I realize the previous paragraph is somewhat rambling and not completely coherent. Here is what I believe: Just because there is proof that people 1,000 or 2,000 or 5,000 years ago believed something goofy, that does not mean that belief is true – we don’t believe the Greek and Roman gods exist just because they inspired some pretty awesome architecture. And therein lies the whole explanation for the Bible. There’s absolutely no proof for any of the supernatural events in the Bible. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. But the attempt is made every day to take the proof of historical events from the Bible and extrapolate that to say that the supernatural events must have happened. Another reason I became an ex-Christian and am now an atheist is because I began to realize there had been no supernatural, personal intervention from God since the time of the New Testament. A little odd, I thought, that he should suddenly take a 2,000-year hiatus after being so involved with human affairs for the first several millennia. Prayer and answered prayers aren’t supernatural interventions: that’s called statistics. My father had a sticker in his Bible that read “God isn’t dead; I talked to him this morning.” One doesn’t really need to point out that just because you’re talking to what you think is a supernatural being – that doesn’t mean said being actually exists. I find the lack of any interaction a pretty convincing proof that there is no supernatural force, but Christians have a pretty handy sidestep given in the Bible when it says “do not test the Lord.” So I guess that means there will never, ever be any first-hand proof of God unless you’re already convinced a God exists.