Wednesday, December 29, 2010

From Baptist to Atheist - My Deconversion Story

I am sure it is apparent, as I have made no effort to keep it a secret any longer. I am not at all the boy I once was. This will be my first attempt to put the evolution of myself into words. I have waited until now because of fear; fear of what people would think. However, I am no longer afraid; this is who I am and I how I got here. Enjoy.

I am an atheist. A godless, secular, science-loving atheist. Misconceptions of the word ‘atheist’ and perversions of the ideology it entails have run so rampant that entire books may not suffice to set the stereotype straight. Simply, I deny the existence of god(s). I don’t hate god, and I am not in a celestial pissing match with the big man. I do, however, strongly disapprove of the Judeo-Christian, Islam, and Hindu gods’ doctrine. I also dismiss the existence of the supernatural in its entirety. Many things have brought me to this point in my life and I will do my best to explain. 

First of all, I was raised in a wonderful home characterized by overflowing love and support, one that I wouldn’t trade for anything. My father, an entrepreneur, has been a well-respected man of the church for years. My mother is the poster-child of an ever-faithful, compassionate caretaker. I also have a beautiful and talented sister, Mikayla, who never fails to make me laugh. My family is amazing and I owe everything I am and may ever be to their undying ability to show me love - even when I make it increasingly difficult to do so. I love you guys more than anything and nothing will ever change that.

One major factor that has lead to my disbelief is my education. Being Bible-based Baptists, my parents thought it appropriate to enroll me in kindergarten at Calvary Christian School at four years old. CCS was a quaint school in its prime educating around 750 students K-12. (I say ‘was’ because it is now about half that size.) I remember my kindergarten teacher, Ms. Butler, teaching the ABC’s along side the seven days of creation and the story of Jonah and the big fish. And so on throughout grade school I was taught the normal subjects of reading, history, and math, but most importantly Bible. As expected, an incredible amount of emphasis was placed on educating us in Bible and Christian practices. The school’s motto is ‘Educating youth in the truth’.  Having been a part of the curriculum, I cannot help but see it as childhood indoctrination; the free will of a child to formulate opinions of the world for itself stripped away. A literal heaven and hell, Christians and lost, creation and original sin ideology was pumped into my malleable consciousness as far back as my memory serves. The obvious goal of the school and affiliated church, of which I attended three times a week, was to create super Christian children capable of continuing and growing the faith throughout maturity. They were doing a damned good job.  I, along with a majority of my peers, had accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior and committed my life to serving him well before middle school. By this time I was able to recite numerous lengthy passages of scripture, discuss theology in-depth, and fluently lead an unsaved person to believe in Jesus as their own personal savior. Never once did I consider this odd. I mean, why would I? I spent every waking hour surrounded by Christian adults and peers who discouraged me from associating with the worldly (unsaved). I was so engrossed in the faith that I was hardly aware of other beliefs. (Except of course the Catholics who were, by the school's teaching, going to hell for their belief in salvation through works.)

Fortunately, the close-minded teachers started to rub the untapped rational side of my brain the wrong way. In middle school my Bible teacher preached to us his unwavering belief that the smurfs (yes, the little blue elves) were satanic. His entire theory based off the name given to the antagonist’s animated cat, Azrael, was blatantly delusional. (Azrael is the name of the fallen arch-angel of death - Satan’s right-hand man) He also made a repeated point that we would never graduate from high school because we would be ‘raptured’ beforehand, sparking the end times prophesied in Revelation. Ideas like these (there are so many more ridiculous teachings I could put here) planted seeds of doubt in my mind that would lay dormant until high school.

At this point in my life, I was being tormented daily with doubt that I had never ‘truly’ been saved. I was taught that thinking about women in a ‘lustful’ way was equivalent to committing adultery, which was punishable by death in the Old Testament. Being a normal pubescent boy, I was obviously pissing off god a lot with this one. This coupled with guilt over other petty sins bothered me so incessantly that many nights were spent crying to God for forgiveness and begging Him to save me over and over again. This continued for months and is undeniable evidence that Christianity’s doctrine is optimally formulated to trap its constituents in fear and guilt. The Bible says a man is never worthy of god’s love and he can only have a relationship if he begs forgiveness of his sins. This relationship’s strength is solely dependent on Christ-like behavior and any sin unconfessed inhibits such a relationship. When doubting your faith is considered a sin and hinders your relationship with god, one is trapped, unable to question their beliefs without overwhelming guilt.

I eventually moved past this guilt by getting saved and baptized for the second time. Foolish I know, but I could never ‘feel’ a relationship with god and the public demonstration brought me enough attention to fill the god-crafted god-shaped hole in my consciousness for the time being. I was looking for an emotional relationship with god that I saw in the people around me, but could not attain myself, no matter the amount of effort invested. I would read my Bible, pray, go to church, play guitar for the church bands, go to bible study, and more, I’m sure. I was the poster-child of my Christian peers and despite all of this, I never felt loved by god, nor could I see his work in the world around me. I remember being told that god provided for me and loved me.  In reality, I knew my father had worked his ass off every day to provide for me, and god’s methods of showing love were bizarre and empty. Towards the end of my sophomore year I was questioning everything I had been taught quietly inside myself. Not having answers to these questions and being surrounded by people blindly following a god I couldn’t see or relate to led me to be a very bitter person throughout the rest of high school.

During my junior and senior year I took an attitude of indifference. I attended church, mostly so I could play guitar, and I would have claimed Christianity in a debate solely to debate.  In the absence of belief I still followed the motions because it was all I knew. I could never openly question anything out of fear of being scolded or worse, embarrassing my parents. I was always fascinated with science but was deprived of anything resembling an adequate education in the sciences. At school Darwin was portrayed as a pawn of Satan, taking evolution out of the picture and leaving biology practically worthless. Intelligent design was preached along with its lie-filled apologetics. The defenses of ID are hardly arguments, but red herrings taking the focus away from actual science whilst hurling ad hominem attacks at some of the greatest thinkers in history. Ex: ‘Dawin was a sexist, racist, etc’ or ‘Darwinism teaches we are just monkeys. If you teach kids they are monkeys they will act like monkeys.’ Stupid shit like that. Ken Ham and Ray Comfort might as well have been our school mascots. The banana man’s videos were shown in all their glory - and people believed it. Ken Ham actually claimed our church as his home church in the states and being so geographically close to the Creation Museum, CCS took frequent field trips, often behind the scenes.

There is one specific incident that wrecked my already low view of the Christians around me. Every Wednesday our high school student body came together for an hour long chapel. We were in a series where faculty and teachers were put on a panel and students were allowed presenting social and theological questions. One student, braver than I, presented a brilliant question to our administrator. “Would a girl that was raped and pregnant as a result be expelled for being pregnant?” The gymnasium went silent for a few seconds and our administrator responded simply with “Yes, she would be expelled.” He then tried to justify his stance by saying they would do their best to help her through her troubles, but having a child out of wedlock violates the schools code of conduct. How fucked up! I could not believe the ugly intolerance displayed by a human, let alone a Christian. However, I was not the only one outraged and I knew that my administrator's response was not the opinion held by most Christians. However, the situation gives insight into how pulling objective morals from an ancient religious book can dull ones desire and ability to think critically and rationally about current moral issues in our world.

Being thoroughly frustrated with my high school experience I was eager to start school at UC. Initially enrolled in aerospace engineering, my father constantly pushed me to consider biomedical engineering. One of the best decisions of my life was listening to him and switching majors during orientation. I immediately fell in love with biomedical engineering and school was finally enjoyable. Living on campus gave me instant access to the different religious views of others and I was finally able to ask questions about evolution, physics, geology, and religion that were off-limits in high school. I was learning so much and intentionally subjecting myself to foreign ideas. If the lunatics at CCS benefitted me in any way, it was by showing me the detriment caused by having a closed mine. One key enlightening conversation was with my neighbor. He explained that he had never believed in God and didn’t need the Bible or a God to live a morally fulfilling life. The idea was preposterous at first and I was baffled. Another was with a group of friends at lunch where religion was brought up. They were stunned that I had never been taught evolution and encouraged me to research it for myself. So I did.

One of the following weekends I sat in my room, scared shitless with my computer. I anxiously searched youtube for ‘How Evolution Works’ knowing that what I was about to learn had the potential to destroy my entire world-view. A series of eight videos entitled ‘How Evolution Works’ by the user DonExodus2 were the first results of the search. I watched one after another until all eight were finished. Sinking further into my chair I was amazed, awe-struck, delighted, and terrified all at once. I would describe it as a religious experience, but it was more than that. Religion cannot begin to touch the beauty and wonder our earth and universe so readily evoke. Evolution’s plausibility opened countless doors to new realms of knowledge. I became obsessed with studying the amazing processes of evolution and further obsessed with studying the rebuttals to the petty arguments I had been previously taught. The foundations of my prior beliefs soon gave way completely and my new personal relationship with science commenced. 

Here is a link to the videos: 
How Evolution Works Series by DonExodus2

The next couple months were particularly hard.  I was ecstatic about learning more about biology, astronomy, cosmology, geology and anthropology - and every new bit of information brought me further away from religion. This was the most emotionally painful part of my deconversion. Even as I was delighted with my newfound unbelief, I knew my family would be torn over it.  I was constantly plagued with the fear of hurting my family, but I could not continue pretending to be a Christian.  I slowly started dropping hints and before long they were very concerned and started asking question. The truth was soon revealed.

Telling my parents about my deconversion was one of the most emotionally intense things I’ve yet to do.  Being shortly removed from their point of view I knew what they were thinking. I was going to burn in hell for eternity and there was nothing they could do.  Our discussion was heated and fairly awkward. I did my best to kill the stereotypes of atheists that the church had poisoned them with. I would rather not go into details, but they have since been torn over my decision, and the pain it has caused them has not been easy to bear.

Telling some of my closest friends also ended poorly and I have been all but shut out by many of my former peers, even best friends. Few have come to me with levelheaded concern and I have been privileged an engaging, calm, and intelligent discussion with them. However, some are so close-minded and have been so deprived of a science education that the discussion bore nothing but hot air.  This whole process has been emotional and at times very lonely. I remember discussing my new views with a professor when he said, “I realize this is emotionally risky, but growth is not always a picnic - it takes stretching, accommodating and changing”. He has been absolutely right.


It has not all been bad, though. This experience has grown me as a person and solidified my ability to defend my views. I have become very close to other skeptics and atheists with similar views and ideas as my own. It has been these people that I find most respectable, moral, ambitious, and honest. It seems that when a person is not so distracted by trying to live for an imaginary God, they become more sensitive to bettering themselves and trying to make this world -this very real and tangible world- a better place for all of its inhabitants. Since my deconversion I find life more livable. Life is wonderful and everyday is a new opportunity to help others. I wake up in awe of the universe around me and delighted that I get to spend my day learning about the intricacies of its inner workings. The very small probability of our existence that creationists hide behind is what allows me to appreciate my life and time spent here. I refuse to allow my meaning and purpose to be endowed upon me by a malevolent, inconsistent, and petty supernatural being; I make my life’s meaning every day and I take full responsibility for how my actions affect others. I have so much to live for and life holds a new grandeur. I would attempt to elaborate if I was a better writer, but I’m not, and this video is too damn cool.


Science Saved My Soul

I can only imagine the conversations this will spark, and I look forward to them.  Whether we are close or haven’t met, I would love to talk to you about science, philosophy, religion, and/or my deconversion experience. 

With love and respect,


  1. Hey there!

    I'll start off by saying you don't know me, I just stumbled across your post here. I just wanted to commend you for sharing your deconversion story because as someone who wasn't forced to go through church past the age of ten and never had the fear of "hell" driven into him--I find the theists path to atheism very insightful. It's amazing what a little education can do and baffling how kids are shielded from reality.

    I sincerely hope your parents will come to accept your position in time. It must be difficult for them but it's also important for you to live your life as it makes logical sense. An open mind is a beautiful thing.

    A common thread I've noticed in deconversion stories is your comment on how you were "shut out by many of [your] former peers, even best friends." To me this is the greatest seal of hypocrisy stamped upon the Christian community which purports to be about love. I hope America follows Europe's path to secularism, it's about time we shed the supernaturalism of a first century culture.

    Cheers mate! Thanks for the excellent post, best of luck to you.

  2. Thank you for the encouraging comments! :) They are much appreciated.

  3. Jake, I have read ALL of your blogs and am impressed with your drive to prove Christianity,a myth,false,nothing more than weak minded people who want to believe in a supreme being.I too once hated Christian beliefs,my parents,particularly my mother,always saw every one else's faults/sins but none of her own.If being a christian meant being like her,i wanted none of it.So... for years,until I was 28,I didn't need any GOD,I could do anything I needed myself.The problem is that MAN distorts GODS views/plans for our life,Religion itself creates nothing wars,all throughout the history of the world the majority of wars are because of conflicting religious beliefs.However GOD in his infinite wisdom knows this,HE knows ALL,and I still believe that HE created MAN.We didn't just happen,or come from some Mega galactic explosion.Your teacher story,about the "Rapture" was wrong,I agree,to say that we would be raptured at a certain time,no...No one knows the time that will occur,but I still believe it will...someday.Your dad and I have talked about your "Decision" and your right,he is very upset,but as any true father would say,he still loves you no matter what,un-conditionally.I will continue to follow your blogs,I will be your friend no matter what.I don't agree with your new found viewpoints,but i respect you for being bold enough to say them.God doesn't expect me to be perfect,I commit sin daily,but I realize that he loves me no matter what,just like your dad loves you.I don't constantly worry about my actions/thoughts,this kind of life would drive me crazy.I have learned that you cannot please every one,no matter how much of a goody-two-shoe you'd be.The problem I have with our conflicting viewpoints are,... if I'm right,GOD does exist and I (my soul) will live on forever,I've gained everything.If I'm wrong I've lost nothing.If your wrong and GOD does exist,you've lost everything,and gained an eternity in HELL.I'd prefer NOT to take that chance.Your friend always.
    Bob Shearer

  4. Hello!

    I'm the author of the first comment here. This is in response to Bob and in no way reflects Jake's or any other persons' thoughts but my own. I hope to encourage a fruitful discussion for the purpose of mutual insight.

    Bob wrote:
    "The problem I have with our conflicting viewpoints are,... if I'm right,GOD does exist and I (my soul) will live on forever,I've gained everything.If I'm wrong I've lost nothing.If your wrong and GOD does exist,you've lost everything,and gained an eternity in HELL.I'd prefer NOT to take that chance."

    It would appear that you're basing your belief on Pascal's Wager as outlined in the above statement. I have a couple of questions that should demonstrate why I have a problem with that viewpoint and why it's a flawed reason for belief.

    1) You state if you're wrong about God you have nothing to lose whereas an atheist has everything to lose for not believing. My question to you is: what about the myriad of other punishments from non-Christian gods you're risking?

    You stated:

    "If your wrong and GOD does exist, you've lost everything, and gained an eternity in HELL. I'd prefer NOT to take that chance."

    A Muslim might state similarly:

    "If you're wrong in worshiping Jesus as God, you've lost everything and gained an eternity in hell. I'd prefer not to take that chance."

    If a Jain came up to you and warned you that you risk being sent to Naraka (Jainism's hell) for not following Jain tenet, would you convert? Probably not. Why not? But what if you're wrong?

    2) If I converted to Christianity because I'd rather be safe than sorry, wouldn't the omniscient God see through my ploy and send me to hell for wanting to save my own ass instead of a true love for Jesus?

    3) If one is legitimately concerned about their "soul" or the truth, wouldn't it be more prudent to suspend belief and examine all religions critically first? Perhaps a simpler way to put it is that Christians have already decided I'm (and all other non-Christians) are wrong BEFORE evaluating my arguments while from my position I decide if one's wrong AFTER evaluating their arguments and supplementing my reasons as to why.

    If one takes the former position they're bound by an uncritical, circular bias. How does one objectively evaluate reasons and evidence if they've already reached a conclusion?

    I'd be more than happy to hear your other reasons for belief and answer any questions you may have regarding my own stance on religion. I'm genuinely interested in hearing others' perspectives as I feel any critical thinking person should be.

    Or as 1 Thessalonians 5:21 puts it: "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good."

    I hope you have an excellent New Years, Bob (and Jake), cheers mate!

  5. Hello mate,perhaps my choice of words "better safe than sorry" was not the way to convey my thoughts,I'm NOT trying to debate your stances on this matter,was merely stating my opinion.I don't know about all the other religions out there.Are there any other religions that have had the power to raise the dead,or been raised from the dead their self? I don't know.My main reason for writing to Jake was to let him know that I will always be his friend NO MATTER WHAT,if he ever needs my help,I'm there.Good day mate.

  6. hey jake,

    this is coming from a schoolmate. I saw this and my heart broke.. It made me angry and sad at the same time. I want to smack ya and wrap my arms around you simultaneously. I don't know what else to say but the things that went through my head while reading this.

    1) I was in the same Bible class as you, and I know that the teacher did not say that the rapture was going to, without a doubt, happen before we graduated. He said there was a good chance. He said this because of all the prophecies that have happened so far, this is the next one to happen.

    2) I feel as though you are basing a lot of the Christian belief on feelings. You state, "I could never ‘feel’ a relationship with god and the public demonstration brought me enough attention to fill the god-crafted god-shaped hole in my consciousness for the time being. I was looking for an emotional relationship with god that I saw in the people around me, but could not attain myself, no matter the amount of effort invested." This whole "feeling" idea is not realistic. Even when you are in a relationship with someone and in love, you don't always "feel" love towards that person. It is a daily choice.

    3) (last one) You also said you looked at the teachers at Calvary and stated that you didnt feel they did the best job with being in the Christian Education System. I agree, some of it could've been better... a lot better. Some of the videos we were shown in Bible class seemed so irrelevant to our lives.. they had bands from like 40 years ago! The last thing I want to say is that we are not commanded to look at other Christians and live as they are, the Bible says to look at Jesus and live like He did. So many people look around the Church and say "well look at that person! They're saying one thing and doing the opposite once they walk out the doors!" When we do this, we aren't looking at the right model to follow anyway.

    Anyway, I'm going to wrap this up. I agree with the others that say that it did take a lot of guts to put this up and go through the whole process, but I just hope you keep an open mind and don't become the many that go through their "deconversion" and claim that the world is against them and noone will listen to them, when, in turn, they become the close-minded ones.

    Thanks for listening =)

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Hello, anonymous classmate. Thank you for taking the time to read!

    In response to your second point, I understand why you may "feel as though [I am] basing a lot of the Christian belief on feelings," and I think it is a common misconception inadvertently portrayed in summary of my deconversion- especially to Christians.

    First, let us consider why I would expect to 'feel' something in regards to god. Christianity, especially fundamentalism, puts a great deal of emphasis on having a 'personal relationship' with God. I think you will agree that this 'personal relationship' is something that every Christian should strive for. This is where I struggle with 'feeling,' though it was not ultimately essential to my experience. Whilst striving for this 'personal relationship' I came to realize that all of the 'works' I was doing to perpetrate a connection with god were, on his part, unrequited. Fervent prayer was returned with silence, as it always will be. A Christian's rebuttal to this statement would be that god uses his written word, the bible, as his means of communication. I find a few problems with this. 1) In all of god's sovereign power and omniscience, the greatest being in the universe couldn't contrive a clearer and less sketchy means to communicate his wishes than an ancient book? I find it petty. 2) The bible does not address many of moral issues of our age. 3) The bible is intrinsically flawed. If you study the history of the bible- i.e. Who wrote the individual books, how and when the books were compiled, and how the bible addresses the temporal nature of the universe around us- it becomes quite clear that the bible is not what it claims to be. It was while I researched these items that my loss of faith became eminent.

    But back to the idea of a 'personal relationship.' I encourage you to consider how you define your personal relationships with the people around you. I think you'll find a more accurate parallel between the relationship a child has with an imaginary friend and the relationship a christian has with god than between yourself and the people you have relationships with. (New studies regarding the actual psychology of these relationships are fascinating!) It becomes obvious the two are not the same and the relationship between god and man is far from 'personal.' It is in this sense that I can not 'feel' god; he is hardly more real to me than pegasus, a figment of our deceptively elaborate imagination.

    I apologize, but I laughed out loud at the irony in your third point. "Some of the videos we were shown in Bible class seemed so irrelevant to our lives.. they had bands from like 40 years ago!" This is just priceless because the premise of the class was how to base every aspect of your life off a 2000 year old book. I hope you can find the humor.

    Thanks again for your comments!

    With love and respect,


  9. This was an interesting article for me to read. As a 2nd year college student who also grew up in the church, I have asked many of the same questions as you. Like you, I came to believe in evolution; however unlike you I retained my Christianity. I did a lot of reading on the topic and found respectable scientists who believed in both evolution and Christianity at the same time. I found that when I got past the extreme fundamentalist literature I found ideas that made a lot of sense to me both scientifically and philosophically.

    Anyway, I really respect you for taking the time to look into these issues for yourself. So many people our age just blindly accept what their parents taught them, whether that be religion or atheism. I just hope that you'll keep an open mind and continue exploring ideas.

    P.S. I posted this anonymously since I don't really know you all that well and I don't want you to think I'm a creeper. I saw your link to this blog on facebook and thought it looked interesting :)

  10. Have you Questioned your authorities of you're your new belief system?

    Basically, you accept by faith (i.e. no empirical science needed or available) that life spontaneously generated from this so-called
    imaginary 'proto-cell' That is not science, that is anti-science. You know better than that.

    Furthermore, I did not hear one shred of empirical science/evidence from you during your TIRADE and YouTube Videos. It is clear that, "Evolution is assumed and NOT proven, and that Creation is denied and NOT refuted!" Why is that?

    If you can't answer this one simple question, ["Can you give mean example of a genetic mutation, or an evolutionary process, which can
    be seen to "increase the information" in the genome?"] you have no scientific leg to stand on.

    You can't even get evolution out of the starting blocks let alone progress upward from the so-called 'proto-cell' to human beings by
    the increase of new genetic information.

    Prove that "Spontaneous Generation" has happened and perhaps will happen again. (We know you assume it did, but that is not very Scientific)

    Lastly, from your evolutionary view point, the increase of information is due to the "mutation" or in laymans terms shall we "typos!"

    Now, take the novel --Alice in Wonderland, and you re-type it a few thousand times. You will no doubt get some typos, Those typos will not
    improve the Original, as a matter of fact, it will be an inferior version.

    You will never get 'The Taming of the Shrew' by those typos. If you think you can, You have more faith than ME!

    P.S. "Omnis cellula e cellula"... "All cells only arise from pre-existing cells".

    The modern tenets of the Cell Theory include:
    1. all known living things are made up of cells.
    2. the cell is basic unit structural & functional all living things.
    3. all cells come from pre-existing cells by division.
    (Spontaneous Generation does not occur).
    4. cells contains hereditary information which is passed from cell to cell during cell division.
    5. All cells are basically the same in chemical composition.
    6. all energy flow (metabolism & biochemistry) of life occurs within cells.

    With that in mind, using the natural laws of chemistry and physics governing our world, explain Spontaneous Generation, which had to
    have occurred in our explanation of the life on earth?

  11. P.S. What is the missing ingredient in every examples below?

    A Novel = glue + paper + ink + grammar + (?)

    A Song = notes + ink + paper + (?)

    Machine = metal + nuts + Laws of Physics + (?)

    Proteins = amino acids + time + energy + (?)

    DNA = sugar + phosphates + bases + chemistry + (?)

    Life = molecules + energy + chemistry + (?)

    The only thing missing in each common example is INFORMATION!

    Another way, it's a Writer, a Composer, a Design, a Plan, an Intelligence, and a Designer.

    Novel = glue + paper + ink + grammar + a WRITER , eg. Kurt Vonnegut
    Song = notes + ink + paper + a COMPOSER, eg. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

    Machine = metal + nuts + Laws of Physics + a DESIGN, from, Alexander Graham Bell

    Proteins = amino acids + time + energy + (a PLAN)

    DNA = sugar + phosphates + bases + chemistry + (an INTELLIGENCE)

    Life = molecules + energy + chemistry + (an INTELLIGENT DESIGNER)

    The only thing missing in each common example is information.

    Dr Werner Gitt defines the following empirical principles of Information Theory:

    1. No information can exist without a code.

    2. No code can exist without a free and deliberate convention.

    3. No information can exist without the five hierarchical levels: statistics, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and apobetics.

    4. No information can exist in purely statistical processes.

    5. No information can exist without a transmitter.

    6. No information chain can exist without a mental origin.

    7. No information can exist without an initial mental source; that is, information is, by its nature, a mental and not a material quantity.

    8. No information can exist without a will.

    Just a little food for thought and maybe some healthy doubt.

  12. Lastly, from your evolutionary view point, the increase of information is due to the "mutation" or in layman's terms shall we "typos!"

    Here is a better analogy...

    Now, take the 'simple' book by Dr. Seuss 'The Cat and the Hat'(rather than 'Alice in Wonderland' which is far to complex, we need to start simple and become complex), and you re-type it a few thousand times. You will no doubt get some typos, Those typos will not improve the Original, as a matter of fact, it will be an inferior version.

    You will never get 'The Lord of the Rings' by those typos no mater how many time you re-type it.

    If you think you can, You have more faith than ME!

    Remember if you want to be Scientific ... Empirical Science must be repeatable, observable and testable.

  13. Kurt,

    I will not be taking the time to refute the individual statements you so graciously marred my blog with, and here is why.

    1) I'm rather offended. This post was written with the intention of sharing my personal experience with religion, all while explaining what I have come to believe more recently. I made these intentions clear and feel that I wrote the blog with the sensitivity of the topics at hand in mind. I did not set out to offend anyone and directed no derogatory remarks towards any one person. Yet, you called my post a tirade? I spilled my guts out in the above post, yet you made no mention of my effort or even any of the topics I discussed. You simply came to my blog and regurgitated what resembles the half-digested remains of a Hovin/Comfort/Ham spawn. Your TIRADE is of no relevance to my post and of even less relevance to science. This was not intended as a place to debate evolution, and I'm not really sure how you came to think it was. The post was simply not about evolution/the big bang/abiogenisis. Honestly, most your statements were insulting to my intelligence. I would have never come to accept these theories (theories is inclusive as you hardly distinguish between distinct ideas like abiogenesis, biological evolution, and the origin of the universe) if such petty arguments (I use that term graciously- as your comments hardly entail a proper argument) held any water.

    2) Like I said above- this is not the place. Your comments would be greatly appreciated if I had written a post on the evidence of such scientific theories. However, because I encounter people like you soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo frequently and have become distraught from the amount of false education on atheism, biological evolution, etc., I'm toying with the idea of starting a blog or youtube series addressing these issues from scratch. It's hard to refute claims made by people who grossly misunderstand the basic topic of which they make claims. Bridging this gap of understanding and furthering the thorough education of science is my ultimate goal. I have no doubt that I can adequately address the questions you pose, but composing such a work will require time, as I'm rather OCD about presenting my arguments with thorough and citable research.

    3) I hate bad grammar, and you practically gave me a migraine in your first line "Have you Questioned your authorities of you're your new belief system?" I mean, seriously?


  14. As a non-partisan observer, I would have to agree with Jake's comment that this is not the time nor the place to ramble about flaws or the lack thereof of a particular belief/theory. He was simply sharing his views on the topic, not trying to write a thesis on the theory of evolution. I was also a student at Calvary, and experienced much of the same mental debates that he is going through. His post provided insight on his side of the argument. Kurt, I feel as though you have no respect for anyone else's beliefs other than your own and it is that ignorance that causes Christians, such as myself, to question everything I have ever been taught about evolution/science in general. How is Jake to make an educated decision on what he believes if he is nearly harassed for laying his heart on the line. I am all for debating the issues, but please do it with dignity and respect. No one has ever changed their opinions because of a sarcastic, undignified ramble about how dumb the other person is.

  15. Read "The Language of God" by Francis S. Collins yet? The scientist who is head of the Human Genome Project and one of the world's leading scientists who believes in God, Scripture, and Science...and he started an atheist. I just think it's worth considering that serious scientists see God in science and to somehow separate the two is not remotely's like seperating me from my kids.. They were formed in me and born from me...entities of their own but forever my children... So it is w/ God and Science.

  16. Another set of books to read are the ones from Lee Strobel who wrote The Case for - series. He was a former legal editor and avowed athiest and was challenged to prove Christianity wrong and in the process became a Christian himself. I believe it is at least a rental from the library for a good read. Will be praying for you!!

  17. Ken Ham singled your blog out on his Twitter and Facebook pages. Look for a heap of stupidity from his ignorant followers to come your way. See:

  18. hey Kurt Streutker - good for you - I love how its ok for people to give their opinion and "put it out there" but when a good response like yours is received, rather than deal with the issues the focus gets shifted to put downs and things like grammar or attitude.

    Jake finishes his blog with:

    "I can only imagine the conversations this will spark, and I look forward to them. Whether we are close or haven’t met, I would love to talk to you about science, philosophy, religion, and/or my deconversion experience."

    He looks forward to conversations and views as long as they are not yours, even though you are talking about science and the reasons why you think evolution cannot work - being the lack of information needed to begin and sustain life.

    Makes sense to open-minded people!

    Jake has accepted the evolution/atheist viewpoint and is from this point close-minded to any other arguments.

    "The Greatest Hoax on Earth" by Jonathan Sarfati is highly recommended if anyone is open-minded enough to really want to explore this from all angles!

  19. Why is it YOU Jake, can say anything to offend us believers of a gracious merciful life-giving God, but if WE say anything against YOUR ungrounded faith, it is offensive to YOU? YOU are not any different than any other biased anti-Christ who hates authority and judgement. You are only rebelling against God's moral laws like every other atheist (who exist BTW in Bible history abundantly), and like them you find this a great excuse.. Read what happened to the atheists in the Bible even when faced by God Himself!~ You didn't believe in God in the first place, you were ALWAYS searching for alternatives, even if they are absurd alternatives. "For the fear of the Lord is the BEGINNING of wisdom." It takes an eternity to know God, so how can you decide He doesn't exist in a second of the short time of your life? What a lack of knowledge you have! This is an important decision of life and death, I would make absolutely sure it wasn't a fatal, eternal mistake. Eternity is a long time to pay for what you wish and ASSUME were true. God does not change, society does. His laws are for every generation and every person in that generation. Christ died for all, but all do not live because of it. You have to accept and live by faith, grounded faith if you want to please God. God makes it easy to believe He exists, thats general revelation. It's the spiritual revelations that are rejected by atheists, it interferes with their lifestyles. "Blessed are those who have not seen and still believe!" You have apparently never been THAT kind of blessed in your whole life. No wonder you are lacking deep empathy for your own soul; breath and existence that is literally trapped in a flesh and blood mortal vessel. God has authority over you. Why not know what He's planned for you and everyone who loves and trusts Him? It's better than your tiny little mere mind can fathom!

  20. (this ended up begin long... so I have to break it up a bit)
    Hi Jake... my name is Carrie. First of all... I'm not here to preach at you or tell you are wrong... but I did read your blog (it was actually recommended by Ken Ham via facebook) and felt compelled to comment. Here's a little background so you know who's speaking. I was raised in public school and in the Methodist Church. I have a bachelors degree in Art with a minor in Human Ecology (went to a regular secular university) though I'd also considered Journalism and have always loved biology... art ended up being #1. I consider myself non-denominational and we attend a (for the lack of a better term) progressive baptist church (progressive in that their pastor was raised pentacostal and they have a good sized number of charismatic believers and the pastor is actively trying to get them away from the typical legalism, judgement and prejudice that is so rampant in the baptist denomination). I kinda just want to say I am so sorry that your experience with school and church was as it was and I can understand how it would turn people away in their faith (though it does sound like you do have wonderful loving parents). I also want to say that not all Christians are like the ones you grew up around. Now... I do consider myself Bible believing and I do agree with creation science. But, I don't know... I don't think I'm that stereotypical Christian. For one I love Harry Potter and Twilight... and believe me we have been judege and condemned for it! Not by God and not my our true friends, but by legalistic Christians like the ones you describe.

  21. (part 2)- We do homeschool our children, but it didn't start out that way. We made the change when I felt God calling me to do so. It was more about being able to focus more time on my kids: my son who has dysgraphia and needs to be able to do his written work on a computer and our adopted daughter who I knew would benefit with more time with me so we could work on her attachment issues, and then our youngest just came along for the ride. I do include Creation Science in our curriculum, but we also teach the kids about secular theories (whether we agree with them or not)... it is important to my husband and I that the kids learn as many world views as they can. If they choose to belive in God (which so far they do) and if they choose to believe like we do we want them to do so because they have studied and learned to think critically about things and come to the conclusions on their own. We watch History Channel and National Geographic channel and we don't shy away from watching things with a secular view whether it be something about science, archaeology or even religion. We want our kids to ask hard questions and then give them tools to seek out those answers and then decide for themselves. I do know people that don't believe in evolution at all... while I don't believe in macro-evolution I do belive in micro-evolution and believe micro-evolution is what the vast majority of Darwin's work focused on. Of course I am not an expert on Darwin... I just don't get the time to focus in on any one subject to an expert level... I'm busy teaching my kids English and grammer and math and writing and science (biology, astronomy, physics, chemistry, anatomy, etc.) history, music, art, and more (all from both secular and Christian view points). I just want my kids to be well rounded. I want them to be able to have an intellegent conversation with anyone they come into contact with about any subject that might come up. If they are going to believe anything I want them to know why they believe it and I want it to be their own personal choice... not my own choice for them. Anyway... I am sorry some have chosen to act towards you like they do... but I'm glad others have still been good to you (I have atheists in my family too and we love them and accept them right where they are at).

  22. (and the last part) - My hope for you is that you keep learning, keep searching throughout your life and that you keep your mind open. And don't be closed to all things spiritual... it may not be something for you right now... and that's ok... just keep an open mind. To be completely honest with you... I believe God has you right where you are at for a reason... and when it is time He will draw you into Himself and the experiences you are having now will one day make you a mighty force for the Lord to combat bigotry, prejudice and legalism within the church. These stereotypical problems of the church are never from God... they are from man in his imperfection and sin. When we can finally learn to see people through God's eyes and truly love others what a difference there will be.

  23. Jake,

    Everyone encounters Christian stupidity and inconsistency, because Christians are bad at their own religion. That's why we don't put our faith in them, but in Jesus alone.


  24. Hey Jake, so sorry to read about your as you say deconversion. I will take a moment to pray for you. I think if your honest you will admit that your departure from Christian doctrine is rooted in a moral failure. That's what makes the Good News of Christ so good. Take care

  25. I think we should all wear the t-shirt that says-'Beware Theological Deconstruction and Construction Zone'. Thankful for your post and honesty! As a mom, I love how you have kept the communication open with your parents even though it has obviously been hard. I can understand their ache-your their sweet son, whom they want the world for. They can only share the concepts of anything they hope to pass ie/-character, their faith but you're the one who lives it out. As I have been pondering things like, what does love & grace truly look like?, I have also been awakened to what truth is not. I don't mean a turn from Christ, but wrestling with these things and seeking truth for myself. Kierkegard says, "Once you label me, you negate me." I think it is safe to say that people often add many labels on all sides instead of really seeing the human behind the curtain-sometimes to add validity to their points and objectives and sometimes out of ignorance (to suggest two very understated ideas & understanding there is more to look into). I suppose that is why grace is so hard also-it's not dependent on anything we do or not do...and humanity is a hot do we reconcile our thoughts, actions etc. with our beliefs? How consistent is anyone really? There is wisdom to be sought and it's really ok if in 5 yrs. from now you write a post as to why you are now Buddhist or dare I say Christian--your life has a start and end date with many stops along the way-congrats on thinking through things ( and yes I will admit I see differences from other truths that I believe-but I share that not to point anything out, but to also be honest that although it is hard- we can agree to disagree:). Thanks for bringing some things to light with your story! Good luck in college and happy you found something you like-that's like half the battle right?! And don't judge my grammar-I'm not going for any awards here:). And lastly just for fun: Nietzsche-"One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star." That might just be the beauty of being human! Grace in the journey,

  26. You are young and will explore many things. I also explored and found myself fighting against the laws of life. I don't agree with a religious protectionist lifestyle as you were raised. I never lied to my children about Santa Clause, but I let them play the game. I tried to let them make their own decisions. God has proven himself to me many many times and I am equal to the pope in my view, meaning I do not worship men. I have told pastors to their faces what I think. Maybe your declaration is your finding your guts against the establishment. These things have a way of taking the route of the pendulum. You are becoming a man and should be treated as such. Keep your eyes open and your mind open. My son also was indoctrinated by higher education. They have an agenda even if you don't see it now. I suspect you will end up somewhere in the middle. Maybe not to your parent's liking, but it will be your own faith. Remember you were raised by loving parents. They believed it isn't all bad. Enjoy the attention you are getting now. Life is very difficult. Study the founding fathers. See how they thought and came up with our Constitution and what it takes for a civil society. Come up with your own interpretation of the Bible and find your own way. It's OK to challenge the existence of God. Ask him to reveal himself to you. He may or may not. NEVER hate.

  27. Hi Jake, this is a long post. But I read it all. It was recommended by Ken Ham on Facebook. It reflects the life of many atheists most of who never experienced the love of God. How about listening to someone who got saved almost two years ago. My life wasn't going well at that time. I've been going to church and studying Bible for years although not sincerely. But I was living in sin. The temptations in my life were just too great. I was feeling guilty for a long time. Then I hit bottom. I was depressed. Because I was accused of doing something I didn't do without any proof whatsoever. I spent a year to clear my reputation to no avail. One night, I cried out to God and asked God why it was happening to me. I was heartbroken over my situation. Then I realized I was living in sin. That's why God didn't bless me. I repented and promised God I would never do that any more no matter what. In an instant Holy Spirit came upon me and live inside of me from that moment on. I wasn't dreaming. I started to have growing thirst for God's words. I started to download sermons and teachings and put them in my MP3 player. I listen to them at least 4 to 5 hours a day whenever I can. I can't get enough of them. My past temptations didn't seem to bother me any more. I was able to resist them. God supernaturally took away my worldly desires and gave me a new desire to live a godly life. I started to have the desire to evangelize. Holy Spirit also gave me the assurance that I became a child of God and heaven is my eternal destiny. Some verses concerning my conversion just came to me which I never heard or read. Later I found them in Bible. Before my conversion I didn't even know the biblical meaning of the word "conversion". But I knew after that moment. God started answering my prayers. Miracles started happening to me. I started to have the desire to pray for others. I've been filled with peace and joy ever since even during hard times. I no longer fear death. I'm looking forward to the moment when I'm in God's presence. All of this is the work of God. It certainly wasn't my own effort. And I didn't expect any of these to happen. God is closed to those with contrite heart. Now I just regret it didn't happen to me sooner. I was like a light turned on. It was the most important moment in my life. I wouldn't trade it with anything.

  28. You sound like an intelligent youg man. I have no doubt that you will continue to seek truth and not walk blindly after any imagination wrought out of man's own fallible heart and desire. In as much as you no longer seek Christ who is known by faith alone, seek not after a science that must also be accepted by faith alone. Science, true sience, will reveal much. Pursue that science. Don't merely accept that which is highly documented nor even that on which your professors lecture. Seek to know the TRUTH. (And, do forgive any typos...sending from my phone and the font is tiny.)

  29. hey jake i have read several of your blogs over the last couple weeks. Although i say that i disagree with your views your very well versed ha Anyway the comment you made about friends turning you away. I just wanted to say that even though i disagree with your views now, you still got a friend in me. Just wanted to let you know that bud. Take care.

  30. I'm glad to see you have emancipated yourself. My father was a Pentecostal minister so I can relate. I wouldn't worry about the criticisms you are getting, they are little more than appeals to authority. There are plenty of people very much like you and I happen to be one of them. If you have a Facebook account then feel free to add me.

  31. Congratulations! I have a very similar story!

  32. Very well written. Well done.

    Here's hoping some of the people Ken Ham sent here are encouraged to question their faith, ask questions and maybe do some more research.

    If you want to know the truth and have an open mind then you need to carefully examine both sides of the argument.

    Find out what the atheists actually 'believe' and compare their actual arguments against what you've been told they are.

    And just what is it about evolution that has convinced 90% (95%?) of the (relevantly) qualified scientists?

  33. In response vIQleS question: Fear of unemployment and the possibility of being discredited from the scientific community likely plays a part in what they "profess" to believe:

  34. I MUST commend you, Jake, on your boldness!
    It sounded that your old church had some legalism. Cause I was exposed to the world and am still a Christian. I have been hurt by fellow Christians because of legalism, and wish that Christians could be as bold as you about their faith. But I based my faith on Jesus, to be like Him, not my feelings.
    Let me say this. I (nor anyone else) can tell you what to believe, but I can only hope that you are 100% sure that what you believe in is correct. My bro in law believes he's correct just as much as I believe I'm correct, but it's always good to keep in mind that what you believe in is what is really true.
    Ken Ham posted this on Facebook and that's how I got here.
    As I am Christian it's fair for me to say I'll be praying, and I say that lovingly.
    And maybe God will use this post to have people question what they really believe, something I believe you wanted.

  35. Good post BMEJake. Don't pay any attention to the concern trolls.

  36. Thank you for sharing this. It was insightful and I'm sure it was a huge and vulnerable step to put this information out to the world. While it's sad that so many from your past have distanced themselves, know that the future is full of all the more people who will befriend you for who you really are, not who you are pretending to be.


    (btw.. I found this via PZ, not Ham.)

  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

  38. I'd just like to congratulate and then clue you in on some huge irony. Despite the pain of extricating yourself from religion, you will largely be the same person you were before. Though, the experience of living without religion is very worth it for me. I'm just lending a word of warning about getting too reactionary is all.

    Also, don't debate people unless there is an audience out there that is worth proving something to. Very rarely in any theologically charged debate is there room for your opponent to change his or her mind.

    I'd also like to add that there are large segments of Christianity where a relationship with Jesus isn't so important or even desired, but most versions of Christianity do rely on some type of personal experience. Biblical literalism is a rather recent American invention, and we've exported it as fast as democracy. There are a lot of Christians who run into word game theologies (such as Eastern Orthodoxy and the popular "apophatic theology".

    Also, once again, congratulations. Now, go and live your life.

  39. Hi Jake--

    PZ Myers retweeted you, and I wandered here from there via the Ken Ham Facebook link (bizarre experience).

    I had a similar path to deconversion but have not and probably will not come out to my family and old friends due to parental elderly-ness and health issues. I envy those that do and can.

    To those trying desperately to talk Jake back into belief, you don't understand. We've already been there. We know all the arguments. We've heard all the "reason" and "logic" and "proof" and "facts," and we've already rejected it. We've already tried desperately to prove it to ourselves with the broader proof even you all hold anything but your beliefs to, and it doesn't hold up.

    So, you can recommend books and tell us to reread passages and rail at us about hell and warn us to maybe just try believing for embarrassingly insincere CYA reasons, and it will probably just make us feel kind of sorry for you. And also kind of tired.

    At least it does me. I shouldn't presume to speak for Jake. He speaks for himself very well.

    Thanks for your post.

    1. I agree. I also deconverted, after 20+ years of Christianity, and people still try to reconvert me or try to discredit my time as a Christian. I am a Bible college graduate, I was once obsessed with Ken Ham and other creationist speakers, and I was a missionary and pastor for a while. I saw what I thought were miracles, I felt what I believed to be God's presence and love, and I loved following God. Later in life, I realized that it wasn't true, and there were other explanations for those experiences.

      So when you Christians tell deconverts like us that "we weren't really Christians", or that we "just need to read this book or try harder", what you're doing is showing us a lack of understanding and comprehension of who we are and what we have been through. You are trying to discredit our personal stories and apply inaccurate Christian stereotypes about atheists to us. Talk to us, get to know us- but do not presume to tell us who and what we are, because you have no idea.

      I find it interesting, but not surprising, that Ken Ham posted this link. It's common for Christian groups to gang up on deconverts to try to pressure them to come back. By posting this link, he was calling his followers to defend his honor and swarm the author until he feels bad and recants. Typical Christian bullying tactic.

  40. Hey Jake,
    Great post and I am happy to read about your growth through the issues of science and spirituality. I study evolution (paleontology) and am still floored by the diversity out there and how little our empirical evidence actually touches. That is not to say that a higher power is evident or even likely but *damn* is there an infinite amount of wonder in this world without ever even jumping into the metaphysical.

    From my perspective, I have worked with scientists that are Quakers, Atheist, Agnostic, Ignostic, Hindu, Buddhist, Pagan and good old middle America Christian. As good scientists they do not let their personal beliefs pepper their methodology. We work at garnering an understanding of what is around us and it leads different people in different directions.

    You get hardliners on both sides pushing at agendas but keep on looking at the data and enjoy the ride.


  41. Jake,

    I enjoyed reading your post. As a biology teacher, it is sad to see how abused a young mind can be when it is subjected to years of religious indoctrination. I'm very thankful I was allowed to see the true beauty of biological diversity through evolution at a young age. I'm glad there are some, like you, that overcome the handicap.



  42. Here via PZ.

    I just wanted to throw my support behind you as well. I have a story similar to this one (although I had a much more liberal and science-friendly upbringing). Congratulations on standing up, taking responsibility, and learning to think for yourself. Don't ever stop.

  43. Jake,
    I read your initial blog and I do understand your point of view. I actually did some time in an ultra legalistic high school myself. It was of my own choosing and I did not stay long. Yes, the rapture was scheduled to occur in 1988, all rock music and dancing were unpardonable sins, and the Bible was supposedly the final authority on every subject.

    I imagine you ran into some of that. Smurfs were evil. Rock music was evil, girls dresses being 3 inches off the ankle was evil. It disgusted me. The difference between you and me is that when I heard these crazy ideas, I searched the Scriptures to see if they were indeed true. Well, on the Rock Music part-- read Psalm 149 and 150. Look at the instruments used to Praise the Lord. Hardly sounds like classical music.

    On the dancing part-- dancing itself is not evil. David danced before the Lord with all his might in II Samuel 6. As for dress- yes, there is modest dress but that does not mean someone should stand at the door with a yard stick checking girl's skirts.

    There were other things, but you get the point. Of course I was young (gave my heart to Jesus at a Petra concert), so I took the school's policy to check everything against Scripture as literally as I take the Bible. I wrote the school a letter addressing their inconsistancies. That went over like a lead baloon.

    What I'm saying is that you had an experience at a church and school that caused your faith to go into a tailspin. It sounds like the school's policy on expelling any pregnant girl that was the victim of rape really started the unraveling.

    Then you went to college (where only a certain type of scientist can get tenure) and basically confirmed your doubts and fears. I came from the opposite place originally. I went to public school all my life and finally wanted to go to a Christian School and get a real education. But I ended up at the wrong school. Nonetheless, I am old enough to remember all the irrelevent public school propoganda that they put out there as science. Maybe, had you seen that, you would have a different perspective now. I saw the filmstrip in 5th grade that Ben Stein criticized in his documentary, Expelled. I was told that perhaps lightning struck the pond that first spawned life. I laughed (and still do). My high school biology text book had Haeckel's drawings of embrionic development through the various stages of evolution even though 50 years ago, many evolutionary biologists abandoned that idea (Steven J. Gould for example). And we all know that Haeckel falsified the drawings.

    Its ironic- your expierences lead you away from Christianity and my public school experiences lead me to Christianity. So experience can't be final judge of whoo is right

    My point is that you were already out the door when you encountererd evolution. Its easy for any of us to see what we want to see and hear what we want to hear (that goes both ways). I wish you would have checked the Scriptures before giving them up. Its possible that the Bible is right but your teachers were wrong. In fact, isn't legalism the very thing Jesus was against? Didn't the Bible predict that there would be false teachers?

    I'm not trying to change your mind. But you did say you wanted to hear from anyone about science, religion, and philosophy. I think I briefly touched on all of them. But do me one favor. Don't get upset with someone for posting a lengthy scientific criticism about spontaneous generation and then turn around and call Ken Ham supporters uneducated. You leave us in a lose, lose situation when you invited us to share. Furthermore you are guilty of commiting the very logical fallacies you claim Bible believing Christians commit. Lastly, remember that just because you changed your religious views does not necessarily mean you opened your mind.

    Thanks for reading and remember that none of this is personal.

  44. Congratulations, Jake. You are very brave! I, too, "deconverted" many years ago. It was a heavy thing for me to realize that the only thing keeping me faithful was my *need* for my beliefs to be true. Once I read Joseph Campbell in college I knew it was all over, though.

    Some day, if you want to have a "meaningful" church life, check out perhaps the only church chock full of atheists, humanists, agnostics, and all manner of religious persuasions. The Unitarian Universalists don't believe in any of the supernatural aspects of the Bible (or of any religion). We're just trying hard to make the world a better place in the here and now. Cat

  45. Hey Buddy

    Great post! Hopefully there'll be many more to come.

    I'm a guy with a similar story (although not as creationist) which made my mum cry. It was hard but the only honest thing to do.

    Keep using reason and logic to determine your morality and view points! Science will teach you that falsifiablity is it's strongest point, not it's weakest. When things are wrong they need to be changed (your anecdote of the raped pregnant girl displays this beautifully)

    Mostly, have fun with it!


  46. Jake:

    Also got here through a link from PZ Myers' blog.

    I admire your boldness, and I hope your family see you graduate, and go to grad. school, and get a job you love, and live an absolutely wonderful life in which you never, ever stop learning new things.

  47. Jake,

    As a Christian, I admit I've gone through doubts. It's not a sin to doubt and wonder whether our faith is real or not. Then I came to a remarkable conclusion. My doubts don't really matter in the scheme of things. Everyone doubts! And those who claim they don't are liars. But there comes a point in the lives of most Christians where they realize that doubting does us no good. We actually have to want to draw near to the Father. We have to step up to the plate and want a relationship with Him. We have to study and pray and even tell Him our doubts. Running away like you did and denying God's existence is never the answer. You never tried to find an actual answer from Christ. You just went to the world. I'm surrounded by other people my own age who've done the same thing and it pains me to see it. I've gone through the same wonderings as you and my friends. How is it that I came out the stronger for it? It doesn't mean I'm perfect or that I never doubt, but it does mean I simply decided to trust God and stop doubting. That's the very meaning of faith, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1.

    I'm sorry that you lost your way. I don't even know you and it makes me ache inside. I'm not going to argue with you because it will do no good. But it doesn't mean I won't send the occasional prayer up for your understanding. We're all so very young when we're in our 20s and we're so easily drawn astray. We don't know everything at this age, we just think we do. Christian parents and Christian teachers try their hardest to prepare us for the real world. And those who don't, those who try to shelter and smother us, those who pretend that we're never going to be tainted by the world, do us a disservice. You can't live in the world and never touch it. But you can choose how to let it affect you. I hope this is the first truth you can accept. My prayers are with you.

    1. "Running away like you did and denying God's existence is never the answer. You never tried to find an actual answer from Christ. You just went to the world."

      Don't you see that you're doing exactly what so many other Christians have done to Jake, me, and other deconverts? I can't speak for Jake, although based on his blog your comment doesn't seem to apply, but for myself I can say that this is not how it is for most deconverts. It's not "running away" to realize that the belief system you grew up in is not true. It's not "denying God's existence" if he doesn't exist or if you actually don't believe in him. You're trying to make him sound like a rebellious child who doesn't want to believe in God; for deconverts, that could not be further from the truth.

      Please stop assuming things about deconverts. We did not "lose our way", we simply realized we were going in the wrong direction and changed our course. And please don't imply that since we are young, we will "grow out of it"... if I said that to you about your Christianity, you would of course be offended. Our deeply held beliefs are not phases.

  48. Yeah! Good for you! Welcome to reality and restored mental health!

  49. Congratulations Jake. There is cause for celebration with every person that manages to escape the clutches of organised stupidity. I only hope your example will give others who know you the courage to ask questions too.

  50. Thanks for sharing your story Jake, it's moving and uplifting. I always find it shocking to hear about how difficult it is to 'come out' as an atheist in America. The reactions of many Christians there seem to be extremely spiteful and hateful, although kudos to those few who have actually had the decency to wish you well in the comments above.

    Best wishes as you continue your journey of discovery. The reality gradually exposed by science is infinitely more fascinating than the facile and plainly artifactual fables of the bible, and I'm glad you're on board for the ride.

  51. Jake,

    My story is almost exactly the same as yours. I grew up in a very conservative, Evangelical household in Missouri. And actually getting to learn about evolution and how science and the scientific method offers insight into the absolute truths about the universe made me so excited to learn more. I can't stop reading these science books. And even as I go back and read Creationist books - like those by Ham, Safarti, Behe, and others - they are shown to be what they truly are: obvious distortions of science and the conclusions of actual scientists, and lots and lots of mined quotes, all for the purpose of intentionally deceiving people into discrediting science for the sake of their own religious ideology.

    Jake, keep it up! I, too, found that life is much brighter and comes with more clarity when I can be intellectually honest with myself. Like you, I had to tell my parents about my atheism, and it was difficult. I didn't want to feel like I was hurting them or disappointing them, so I completely understand where you are coming from.

    I write quite a bit about evolution and the church. And I have been working with people back in Missouri (I live in New York City, now) to see how I can show the church that they can accept scientific fact, though they might need to budge on their literal interpretations. Anyway, if you ever need anything, shoot me a message. You can find my Facebook and Twitter from my tumblog:



  52. Hi Jake,
    I'll be honest, I don't think I have ever read anything like this before. It's interesting. If I may, I'd like to share my own story with you. Like someone earlier, I had gone through the public school system and having evolution taught to me as fact and at one time I thought that it would be very arrogant for humans to believe that they were the only intelligent life in the universe. It was shortly after that when I began to question and ponder what I was being taught that I saw evolution as a sham. I wasn't going to church at the time, but I had given up on evolution as the reason I was here. I just couldn't believe that something came from nothing (the big bang) and created everything and then somehow our solar system came to be and our planet was in the right place at the right time to be just so for life and then for life to appear from unlife and for evolution to successfully occur countless times and for life to continue. I can't believe all that just happened, especially life from unlife. So after a few years I became a believer after hearing Nicky Cruz, and in The Bible I found an answer to how we got here. Do I have questions? Sure I do, lots. I ask that you would question evolution and the statements that scientists make because it is in their hands that you have put your soul. I hope you do question it further, and find it wanting, as I have.
    Though I don't know you, I do truly wish you the best, and I do pray that you will not end your questioning of what you are being told no matter the source and that your search would lead you back to The Lord. Regards.

  53. Haha oh man checked back here to see how it's going. Jeepers these people didn't read your post or glance at the videos at all! I know science can be hard but it's supposed to be..

    No wait thats wrong.. we're out to get you



  54. Jake,

    Congratulations on breaking free! I commend you on having the guts to break it to your friends and family. it's tough. I have beliefs that differ slightly from yours, the only difference being the supernatural being aspect. But having the courage to shatter the mental bondage modern day Judeo-Christianity had on you and still does on many others is a landmark. Always remember these things though, and i believe you'll grow and find truth, wherever and in whatever form in you may find it in. They've brought me a long way from the mindset Calvary attempted to force upon me. It's a process, life, love, and death.

    1.)The instant you think you know something, that you've got it figured out, is the instant you know nothing at all. There will always be something to to come along and knock you off each precipice of knowledge you reach.

    2.)Never lose sight of purpose in your life. Spend time to think of the source of all of your thoughts, ideas, stances and their origins. Relate them to what you study. Man is fallible, and not in Biblical sense, you yourself know man fails. Everything we know in this world could be found to be lie, and in an instant there would be chaos. Consider your stances carefully.

    3.) Finally, always remember we are human. Flesh, bones and blood. You can die in an instant. In a flash everyone you know and love could be dead. Permanently. And then what? Blackness? A long sleep? Man did not create death, we are only a channel to it,and our own demise. We can explain what leads to death, but cannot explain death in it of itself. We can't reach there. We deal with the physical, the known. In your field, ideas will be pushed down your throat just like in Calvary, or any where for that matter. Never forget that there are things that are and aren't, and man will never be able to explain all of it. Man cannot fully explain that which he did not design.

    Your'e a smart man Jake, much smarter than i could hope to be. I wish you luck and good will. You will make a difference some day Jake, and it will stand the test of time.

    Congratulations and good luck man.


  55. Btw,excuse my atrocious sentence structure. Working non-stop tends to dumb a man down a bit. haha.

  56. A blog is supposed to be an open forum of communication. The truth here is that any sort of intelligent post...that speaks the language of the sciences and scientifically rebuts the countless flaws and holes in the macroevolutionary theory...or thatprovides the amazing coincidental similarities of scientific truths and biblical automatically deleted. This is because the author of this article does not wish for people struggling with the issue to read such posts. Perhaps the author does not wish to address such issues either. This only more strongly affirms my side to be the right one. Thanks. Have a nice day.

  57. Very nice post, Jake. I've never gone through the pain you describe here because I've always been an atheist (with occasional doubts), and I commend your bravery. There are undeniable losses in losing belief: no pie in the sky or moral certainty any more.

    But there are great rewards too. One of the benefits of freedom from the strictures of the Bible, as I see you know, is that the world suddenly becomes much more interesting, and, well, bigger.

    Good on you. If you're ever out this way, drop me a line, and lunch is on me. And good on all the other thoughtful commentators here, theist and atheist alike. I actually don't care much what people believe, as long as they behave nicely and are happy.

    cheers from icy Vienna, zilch

  58. I went through a similar change a few years ago and heard all of the same entirely predictable responses that we see above. Keep up the good work, and keep speaking out. Your words may help another person who is just beginning to see through the bullshit of religion.

  59. Dear Jake, I was completely glued to your story. I understand your frustrations in the Christian schools. I, too, attended them, and found them to be promotors of guilt, at best, and damnation, at worst. But, I learned much later,it's all about...MAN DISTORTING GOD. It's not...GOD DISTORTING GOD. Ask yourself, why would He do that? Please continue your studies and research into these matters, and stay open. You are so intelligent, so precious in God's eyes. He is not the problem here. He continues to LOVE you always.
    Sincerely, a grama and a mom, Judy.

  60. Congratulations on thinking for yourself! There are so many wonderful things to learn now that you are free of the bonds of religion. You're (obviously) not alone. Be good and take care.

  61. Jake, after reading your blog and the comments ensuing, one thought came to mind, "Self-righteous emotionalism." Other words came to mind, arrogant, closed minded, extremism. I understand you are young and impressionable. Perhaps infatuated with yourself and your new knowledge in science at UC. Frankly. you left one religious institution and when to another (if your UC teachers are promulgating atheism- it is a religious training).
    You when from one extreme to another, I mean, seriously? You went from one set of assumptions to the complete opposite (Baptist to Atheist).
    That's emotionalism at its best, and what is hilarious, your UC comrades are massaging your ego and consoling you. Telling you that atheism the truth.

    Atheism is actively believing there is no God (a presupposition). I don't hear any evidence for the validity of atheism. There are no "proofs" that God does not exist.

    After all, how do you prove there is no God in the universe? How do you prove that in all places and all times, there is no God? You can't. Jake, do you know everything about the furthest stars? I would hope you say, No (otherwise the arrogance of atheism has blinded you)? Since you don't know, could God be there?

    Besides, if there was proof of God's non-existence, then atheists would be continually using it. But we don't hear of any such commonly held proof supporting atheism or denying the existence of God. The atheist position is very difficult, if not impossible, to prove since it is an attempt to prove a negative. Therefore, since there are no proofs for atheism, and there are no proofs that there is no God, the atheist must hold his position by faith. Jake, at best, you can only be an agnostic.

    So you can see, your new belief is based in emotionalism and not logic or science (sorry to brake the news to you).

    Best Wishes,


    1. Atheism is the rejection of the claim that a deity exists. That's it. It's not a religion, it's the rejection of all religion.

      We don't need to prove God's non-existence, that's the theist's job. You cannot disprove the existence of anything, including the spaghetti monster or unicorns. It's scientifically impossible. What we CAN do is show a lack of evidence for something, eg god. No evidence that he exists, no reason to believe in him. It's simple, no faith required at all. I don't have "faith" that Thor doesn't exist. Do you have faith that Allah and Isis are not real?

      My views as an atheist are not based on emotional arguments, but on facts. Until someone can prove God's existence and prove which religion is the right one, I see no reason to believe in any religion.

  62. I read your post and found it... interesting. My only true thought is, I pray that you are right.

  63. "Atheism is actively believing there is no God."

    No. Atheism is the lack of belief in a god or gods. Agnosticism is not knowing for sure. It is possible to be both and neither states as fact "there is no god." If you don't understand this simple concept you won't be able to participate in a discussion on the topic.

    "The atheist position is very difficult, if not impossible, to prove since it is an attempt to prove a negative."

    It is always on the person proposing the existence of something to provide evidence for that something. If you come to me and tell me that you have a unicorn in a shoebox, I can point out that there is no such thing as unicorns and even if there were it most likely would not fit in a box that size. If on inspecting and opening the box I reach in and can't feel an invisible animal in there and you tell me its intangible as well, then I have no choice but to insist you provide evidence to back up your claim of the tiny, invisible, intangible, unicorn you keep in a shoebox. Until then that positive evidence is provided disbelief is completely justified.

    Atheists do not have to prove anything. Until such time as one religion or another offers testable evidence that its version of god is the correct one atheism is the default position and is completely justified.

    So you can see, your opinion of atheism is based on a faulty understanding of what atheism is and how logic, reason, and science work (sorry to brake the bad news to you).

    Best Wishes,

    Robert T, another former fundamental baptist and young earth creationist.

  64. You're an atheist now -- you rejected the love and free gift of salvation that Jesus offers -- because of Smurfs? Smurfs??? Really?

  65. > Anonymous said...
    > A blog is supposed to be an open forum of
    > communication. The truth here is that any sort
    > of intelligent post (...) is automatically
    > deleted.

    If you mean the fifteen or so posts of dense pseudo-science prose someone posted last night, I'm quite sure BMEJake didn't delete them for their intelligence. He deleted them because they were spam. Not in the "selling stuff" sense, but in the Monty Python SPAM Song sense. Have some respect for BMEJake. Or at least have some respect for what this entry is about. It's about his experience, not about proving or disproving your particular viewpoint.

    > David Steinman said...
    > Atheism is actively believing there is no God
    > (a presupposition). I don't hear any evidence
    > for the validity of atheism. There are no
    > "proofs" that God does not exist.

    I'm skipping the personal attacks. They're beneath you and not worth addressing.

    Theists often claim that atheists have a specific belief. That would be convenient for your argument, but would imply that you are an a-unicornist and an a-leprechaunist. Someone asserting a positive belief in something must provide the evidence.

    Atheists don't claim there definitely is no god, they merely state that the evidence thus provided doesn't support the assertion.

    I'd go into greater detail, but others have done a better job of it:

  66. "Ken Ham singled your blog out on his Twitter and Facebook pages. Look for a heap of stupidity from his ignorant followers to come your way. "

    Didn't have to look hard for a heap of the typical hate and intolerance against Christians. It's right there in black and white.

    1. Based on the intolerant, hurtful, and erroneous-stereotype-filled comments left on this page by Christians, isn't it understandable that people who have dealt with this before would have that view?

  67. Hello, Jake and all others who come to read or reread this post and all its many sided responses. I would like to invite you to read my recent blog which addresses many of the pressing issues here. Come prepared to examine scientific truth, biblical truth, and logical truth much more closely and much more intensely than perhaps ever before. Come read with an open mind, heart, and soul. Come be unified in beliefs with even those whose views you most passionately loathe.

    Here is the link:


  68. Yes there are those who are intolerant against Christians, but just think, humans are an intolerant species as a whole. Especially if they've been indoctrinated since childhood. Every one will be to a certain extent unless everyone was a damn genius and figured out the meaning of life on their own. What there is more than anything i notice, is a continuous intolerance for anyone who thinks differently, parts from having there environment dictate to them right and wrong, and what to do and what not to do. Who maybe is a little arrogant and tries to figure things out on there own, or at least ascribe to something different. At my age of 19 I ain't got a damn thing figured out, but i have chosen a tougher path. I will learn on my own. Life is a cruel headmaster. Shes a bitch, but in the end she teaches you all you need to know. Science cannot explain the supernatural. it exists. We cant prove it, but we can prove that our brains are large and intuitive enough to sense it, to feel it. Trying to disprove it is to fight the reasoning in our brains. But that is not the point. There is far too much arguing between religions. It is a large part of why there are so much hatred. It is an honorable thing to want to save a mans soul, it is. But it becomes dishonorable when you try to press it upon him and his children from birth. WE HAVE FREE WILL. If i tell "God" to fuck off, he doesn't strike me down with a lightning bolt does he? no. is it because he isn't real? maybe. Man can use his reasoning to decide for himself. I Personal Believe that a supernatural being created us. Many MANY religions talk of a creator. Why? BECAUSE MEN THROUGHOUT THE AGE HAVE CAME TO A CONCLUSION THAT SOMETHING, SOMEPLACE OUT HERE DESIGNED US. Religions across the world have that in common. A creator of some kind. And like every good thing, a thought, and Idea, an institution, the religions we have today have been taken over my money grubbing power-hungry attention whore sons of bitches who really don't care. No saying that there aren't good people in them, but they are in a mix with all the rest. What i'm saying is that everyone is fallible, there are so many lies out there mainly because we don not correctly seek the truth and peace. we believe we can only have one or the other. There is no point in attacking or arguing with Jake. We are all humans, in the same shithole of a world, with the same problems and the same solutions with the same power hungry ASSHOLES to arrogant to enact the solutions because they would lose status. If there is a hell, and Jake burns, thats his choice, it is pointless to attack anyone who decides to make their own choices where there decision harms no one. I could continue this rant because i've got A LOT to say about all of this, but again there is no point. in the end I could be wrong which i probably am, and men will only hear what they want to heat. Its that simple.

  69. Yes, J. Mcneill,those were the ones I marked as spam. In fact, there were 21 consecutive comments. lol Ridiculous.

  70. You say:
    "At this point in my life, I was being tormented daily with doubt that I had never ‘truly’ been saved."
    This is possibly the most enlightened comment of the whole article, as if you truly knew Him you would not walk away from Him.

    This is confirmed by this other statement:
    "The Bible says a man is never worthy of god’s love and he can only have a relationship if he begs forgiveness of his sins."
    Please tell us all WHERE in the Bible does it say this? You must be reading a different book...

    BTW, I am a scientist - a researcher to be precise - I hold a B.S. in biochemistry and a PhD in molecular oncology and can honestly tell you that there is so much of the theory of evolution, as well as rock dating, that does not add up. This is, if you are interested in "honest science". It will be up to you.

  71. Folks, people believe what they want to believe.
    No different with atheists. They believe that there is no god. It's that Simple.

    Someone earlier said, "No. Atheism is the 'lack of belief' in a god or gods." Easy for him to say with his semantics. So we ask this man, what is he willing to accept to help his 'lack of beleif'.

    The Fact is, he believes what he wants to believe regardless.

    1. * Unless you have never talked disrespectfully about Allah, Thor, or any other religion or belief, then you are being hypocritical. He has the right to say whatever he wants about your god, just like you have and do exercise the right to say things about atheism. Don't judge him for his attitude about your belief system when you're literally picking apart his article over semantics and trivialities.

      *. Curse words are just words. I know many kind Christians who swear. You're nit picking.

      *. He listed some examples. Why is that an issue? This is his personal story, those are the examples he thought of because that's what he was taught, so why rail on his for it?

  72. @gloria

    So the scientific method states that when things don't add up, you are supposed to just throw up your hands and walk away because obviously the only explanation is "God?" Huh. That must save a lot of work.


  73. Your blog was intellectually lazy. You show a desire for shock factor. You never made a real point. You will be embarrassed by this whole tirade one day.

    * Talking disrespectfully about God -- Shock -- immature
    * Using cuss words. -- Shock -- I dont believe in God so I will use
    dirty words. Immature.
    * The banana illustration and being anti-smurf! Really? You use a couple of goof ball illustrations that most Christians find laughable to make your point.

    Why when someone points out how wrong you are, it offends you, but when you insult our God (which you know what you said is an insult) us "passive" Christians are supposed to be ok with it?

    Also, found it ironic that you claim atheist to be more moral than christians yet you have become a vulgar person.

  74. P.S. Listen carefully what Thomas Nagel (B.Phil., Oxford; Ph.D., Harvard) said, “I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”

    Consider the words of Isaac Asimov, one of the most prolific scientific writers of the last century: “I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I’ve been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually respectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn’t have. Somehow it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I’m a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally I am an atheist. I don’t have the evidence to prove that God doesn’t exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn’t that I don’t want to waste my time.”

    Robert's definition was popularized by Charles Bradlaugh. He prefers it so as to escape the philosophic difficulty of proving a negative—God does not exist—and in order to shift the burden of proof to the theist, since the theist is making the positive affirmation that God exists.

    I mean Really Jake, at least Nagel and Asimov are honest! I suspect those promulgators of atheism at UC where you attend would argue atheism is all about science and is a fact.

    What is escaping Robert (and a lot of you folks) is that he said, 'No!' to the statement "Atheism is 'actively' believing there is no God." ... He doesn't seen very passive about his lack of belief, but rather 'active' and passionate about it. I wonder if he wants atheism to be true too.

  75. You are welcome over here in Sweden any time. In regards to religion, America is like an inverted version of Sweden were belief in god(s) is considered socially awkward and secularism is a stated fact. Of course we have religious people too, just like America have atheists, and that's fine. But to find a Swedish version of Ken Ham, one is more likely to find castles on the moon.

    I loved how you (Jake) described how you experienced science as a spiritual event and I feel that too. There is simply no need to believe in nonsense when truth is sooo much... more!

    Great post, best of luck to ya and remember, your are ALWAYS welcome to Sweden!


  76. "It is often said, mainly by the 'no-contests', that although there is no positive evidence for the existence of God, nor is there evidence against his existence. So it is best to keep an open mind and be agnostic. At first sight that seems an unassailable position, at least in the weak sense of Pascal's wager. But on second thoughts it seems a cop-out, because the same could be said of Father Christmas and tooth fairies. There may be fairies at the bottom of the garden. There is no evidence for it, but you can't prove that there aren't any, so shouldn't we be agnostic with respect to fairies?" — Professor Richard Dawkins

  77. Alas... there's a lot of post from people who believe that your ideas and the way you reached them are so unimportant as to try and change the way you feel and think. That it's not only contrary to the teachings of some religions, being humble and the like, but also dismissive and hypocrite. I'm so glad to be in the same boat. I lost my faith in religion and god a long time ago, thanks to that kind of people, and to the bible.

    It takes courage to aknowledge a lack of believe in a sky father and to try and debate people who believe that they have the absolute truth. The same people that think atheists are arrogant. Isn't that funny?

    And people, who try to talk about science as a means to evilness, with the aid of some convoluted, absurd and histerical thing they mistake for science! So freacking funny!

    If only they could read themselves, and see the madness in that.

    Ken Ham... watch out man! Your last name is offensive to so many people!

  78. Jake

    I was put onto this by Dennis on FSTDT on facebook. good for you, nobody is perfect and this is especially true for those who pretend to be.

    Good luck with your course and don't let the hardliners wear you down.

  79. Jake, I crack up at the statement "I lack belief in god" therefore I am an Atheist. Though this may sound fine to some, the problem is that once you are introduced to an idea, you cannot stay neutral about it. Because everyone has a world-view (a belief system - yes atheism is a belief system) with its set of assumptions (or beliefs) that guide their thinking as they interpret the world around them. Instead of copping-out, the question need to be raised and answered, “What evidence are you willing to accept to help you over-come your “Lack of Faith” in God position.

  80. let's pose the contrasting question to you Robin, "what evidence are YOU willing to accept to help you overcome your "belief/faith" in a god?"

  81. Just want to clear up some misunderstandings about agnosticism from an article by David Eller: AGNOSTICISM: THE BASIS FOR ATHEISM, NOT AN ALTERNATIVE TO IT.

    "Agnosticism is not an alternative position to Atheism, because Agnosticism and Atheism are completely different kinds of phenomena, not simply different positions on the same continuum. Agnosticism is in fact not a position at all but a method for arriving at a position. It is not on the belief spectrum in any sense. Second, Agnosticism is the only proper approach to the particular problem it addresses - the problem of knowledge - and as such it is not only compatible with Atheism but is actually a foundation, the essential foundation, for Atheism.

    What is Agnosticism?
    Agnosticism is a recent concept, introduced by Thomas Huxley, the famous friend and advocate of Darwin, to describe his own concerns about knowledge and belief. It is derived from the Greek roots a- for 'no' or 'without' and gnosis for 'knowledge.' Dictionary definitions, which are often worse than useless, tend to depict it as the position that certain things, like god(s), are unknown or ultimately unknowable; in common usage it is a third religious position between Atheism or Theism. The Oxford World Encyclopedia goes so far as to declare that it is a "reasoned basis for the rejection of both Christianity and Atheism". [3]

    However, neither dictionaries nor common usage reflect Huxley's intent in coining the term. His original formulation of the concept goes as follows:

    Agnosticism is not a creed but a method, the essence of which lies in the vigorous application of a single principle. Positively the principle may be expressed as, in matters of the intellect, follow your reason as far as it can carry you without other considerations. And negatively, in matters of the intellect, do not pretend the conclusions are certain that are not demonstrated or demonstrable. It is wrong for a man to say he is certain of the objective truth of a proposition unless he can produce evidence which logically justifies that certainty.
    In this characterization, which we can take as authoritative, there is no mention of belief in general or of religion in particular. Rather, it addresses what we should and can claim to know. It is akin to skepticism in the less extreme sense: not that it is impossible to have knowledge or that we have none but that we should not claim to have knowledge that we do not have."

    "My conclusion is that everyone is agnostic or at least should be; Agnosticism, like reason, is the only trustworthy method for threshing the true from the false. In reality, Agnosticism is simply another name for reason - and probably an unfortunate name, since people are led to think that it is a unique process in its own right or, even worse, a unique thing or conclusion in its own right. But one would not say "I'm rational" as the description of one's position; that does not tell us what you think, only how you think. Agnosticism is not an alternative to Atheism, let alone a compromise between Atheism and Theism, but rather the very foundation upon which reasoned Atheism stands. Perhaps we should only talk about Agnosticism in the active, verb form: not that I am an Agnostic but that I 'agnosticize.' Thus, I agnosticize, therefore I am an Atheist."

    To read the full article go here:

    more reading:

  82. Robin: if "atheism" is a "belief system", then "off" is a "television channel". I don't know exactly what counts as a "belief system" to you, but I would guess you wouldn't count "not believing in unicorns" as a "system", unless you want all of us to be considered as harboring countless "belief systems": a-Santaism, a-leprechaunism, a-younameitism.

    Sure, atheists, like theists, do have belief systems about morals and lots of other things. But just being an atheist doesn't say anything at all about those belief systems, except that they are free of gods, just as your belief systems are presumably free of sphinxes.

    cheers from thawing Vienna, zilch

  83. A "belief system" is what you hold to to be true about the world. Stop denying the obvious, you believe that there is no god (or have convinced yourself and perhaps want to belief that there is no god). That is your view of the world and therefore your your world-view. A world-view is defined as a theory of the world, used for living in the world. A world view is a mental model of reality — a framework of ideas & attitudes about the world, ourselves, and life, a comprehensive system of beliefs (ASA).

    Quick question for you, "Is 'On' a Television channel?

    Your making yourself out to look even more sophomoric.

  84. Robin: hopefully this video will clear up your confusion.

  85. LOL! That goes beyond confusion. Anyone trying to equate a belief system with the lack of it is actually trying to give both the same value. The same goes to anyone who thinks atheism is just another religion. What they are actually doing, and they don't realize it just yet, is admiting that any form of religion is absurd, and want to level down atheism into the same field.

  86. Glad you made it out. I also went to a christian middle and highschool. But not nearly as bad as the one you described. The teachers actually cared about education, to their merit they never bashed evolution. actually they never mentioned it at all. probably the best route though instead of lies. when i think back on it know even the big bang was a bit too sketchy, i think the only person who believed it was the calculus and physics teacher. from my years it does seem like baptists are one of the most damaging of the christian cults. so again im glad you made it out and still have your sanity.

  87. Consider the words of Professor Richard Lewontin, a geneticist is certainly one of the world’s leaders in evolutionary biology. He wrote this very revealing comment. It illustrates the implicit philosophical bias against Genesis creation—regardless of whether or not the facts support it.

    "We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.

    The eminent Kant scholar Lewis Beck used to say that anyone who could believe in God could believe in anything. To appeal to an omnipotent deity is to allow that at any moment the regularities of nature may be ruptured, that Miracles may happen" An Amazing admission because he is brutally honest about his commitment to Naturalism.

    Furthermore the commitment to naturalism is apparent with the assumption that a designer is unscientific—even if all the evidence supports one! Dr Scott Todd, an immunologist at Kansas State University: "Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such an hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic" An Amazing admission. No, just a firm commitment to the the assumption of Naturalism as a foundation for his World-view.

  88. Dr. Dawkins was asked this basic Question, "Can you give me an example of a genetic mutation, or an evolutionary process, which can be seen to "increase the information" in the genome?"

    He was tossed a soft-ball and he could not give an answer. See it for yourself.

    Richard Dawkins was stumped by creationists' question

  89. "Dr. Dawkins was asked this basic Question, "Can you give me an example of a genetic mutation, or an evolutionary process, which can be seen to "increase the information" in the genome?"

    He was tossed a soft-ball and he could not give an answer. See it for yourself."

    This is one of the longest running fallacies in creationism and the question has been answered at great length for a long time. See it for yourself.

  90. And you can read Dawkin's reply to the set-up here.

  91. Robert: I guess I have to ask what "system" means to you, because I would say that "what I hold to be true about the world" are just beliefs. A belief system is a large set of beliefs that are linked together in a coherent model or picture of the world and how it works. Just one belief, or lack of one, can't really be called a "system", although it might be the most salient fact of a system.

    My not believing in gods does not inform my worldview any more than my not believing in, say, Santa or Smurfs- it doesn't make me a better or a worse person, and it doesn't affect my behavior. Thus, I don't see how you can call atheism a "belief system".

    And that "Dawkins stumped by creationist" clip has long since been debunked. Check it out.

    P.S. I see that David has already posted some links about this hoax. Take a look.

    cheers from thawing Vienna, zilch

  92. Of Course Dawkins was set-up when he was asked, "Can you give me an example of a genetic mutation, or an evolutionary process, which can be seen to "increase the information" in the genome?"
    Had Dawkins known he was going to be asked that question, he would have no doubt have turned the interview down. The fact of the matter is he was asked that question and he had no real objective answer.

  93. "The fact of the matter is he was asked that question and he had no real objective answer."

    Except for having answered it in no less than four books (The Blind Watchmaker, River Out of Eden, Climbing Mount Improbable, and A Devil's Chaplain). Why creationists insist on lying about this in direct violation of the commandments they claim to hold so dear is a mystery to me.

  94. Why creationists insist on lying about this in direct violation of the commandments they claim to hold so dear is a mystery to me.

    David- I don't think it's lying in most cases, but rather a selective memory and a good dose of "la la la I can't hear you".

  95. Enough silly psychological & emotional mind-games. We have to understand that 'naturalism' is the presumption that guides the thinking of these folks that claim to 'lack faith' therefore they are atheists. Every observation goes through that grid. Every conclusion made must be consistent with their basic foundational assumption of naturalism. Therefore, its not an evidence for or against, it is which assumption is the best way to interpret the data correctly.

    By definition, Naturalism is a metaphysical theory that holds that all phenomena can be explained mechanistically in terms of natural (as opposed to supernatural) causes and laws. Naturalism posits that the universe is a vast "machine" or "organism," devoid of general purpose and indifferent to human needs and desires.

  96. Dear Anonymous, So, you're saying naturalism frightens you? I bet you like to tell people that hell is nasty but it's real. Well there are naturalists telling people that the cosmos is dangerous, at best in equilibrium between life and death and sometimes includes mass extinction events, but it's real too. That's naturalism. Not all truths are nice. So Christianity and Naturalism are even on that one. Though universalist Christians would probably scorn both of you for thinking such hopeless thoughts. *smile* Personally, I'm agnostic.


    The Bible says a person is never worthy of God’s love and they can only have a relationship with God if they beg forgiveness for their sins. This relationship’s strength is solely dependent on Christ-like behavior and any unconfessed sin inhibits such a relationship. When doubting your faith is considered a sin and hinders your relationship with God, one is trapped, unable to question one's beliefs without overwhelming guilt.

    ____________ _________ _______

    Christianity has a built-in defense system; anything that questions a belief, no matter how logical the argument, is the work of Satan by the very fact that it makes you question a belief.

    Bill Hicks (comedian)
    ____________ _________ _______

    Christianity has done its utmost to close the circle and declared even doubt to be sin. One is supposed to be cast into belief without reason, by a miracle, and from then on to swim in it as in the brightest and least ambiguous of elements: even a glance towards land, even the thought that one perhaps exists for something else as well as swimming, even the slightest impulse of our amphibious nature--is sin! And notice that all this means that the foundation of belief and all reflection on its origin is likewise excluded as sinful. What is wanted are blindness and intoxication and an eternal song over the waves in which reason has drowned.

    Friedrich Nietzsche, “Doubt as Sin,” Daybreak, s. 89.
    ____________ _________ _______

    A lot of Christians wear crosses around their necks. You think when Jesus comes back, he’s gonna wanna see a cross? Maybe that’s why he hasn’t shown up yet.

    “They’re still wearing crosses? When they start wearing fishes I’ll go back, this is ridiculous. They’ve entirely missed the meaning of this thing.”

    It’s like going up to one of the Kennedy clan with a rifle pendant on. “Just thinking of your tragically assassinated relative, president John F. Kennedy, I really loved him.”

    Bill Hicks (comedian), Rant in E-minor, CD
    ____________ _________ _______

    We Christians neither want nor worship crosses as the pagans do.

    Minucius Felix (Christian author, circa 200 A.D.)
    ____________ _________ _______

    It was only in the third century (after 400 A.D.) that Christian communities increasingly used “covert” crosses, which have survived in the murals of the catacombs and on tombstones. They might be an anchor with a crosspiece, a ship with a mast and yard, a human figure with outstretched arms, or a juxtaposition of the initials of the name Jesus or Christ (in Greek or Latin) to produce a cross-like shape. It was in the fourth century that the cross became an openly Christian symbol. By that time crucifixion as a method of state execution had been abolished and the cross ceased to have its former cruel and negative associations. Several hundred years later it was deemed a terrific symbol to use to ward off vampires, demons, etc.

    ____________ _________ _______

    If Christ was executed today I bet Christians would wear little electric chairs round their necks.

    Dick Gregory
    ____________ _________ _______

    After the missionary explained the Bible’s superior civilized plan of salvation to several natives, one of them replied, “Like you, we love our gods and seek to love one another. What we do not understand is why your god tried to pin down sin by using His son as a voodoo doll.”

    ____________ _________ _______

    Christianity is merely paganism with a more successful advertising campaign.



    To paraphrase John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he temporarily died to save it from himself. But none of that really matters because most people will be tortured for eternity anyways.”

    Matt Miller
    ___________ _________ _______

    Christianity teaches that Jesus had to die, or God couldn’t forgive the world.

    So why isn’t Judas a “Saint?”

    ____________ _________ _______

    Whenever I forgive someone I’m relatively straightforward and direct about it. But for God it takes a bloody miracle.

    ____________ _________ _______

    Though I admire Jesus for deploring the temptations of wealth, organized religion and its powerful sway, as well as hypocrisy, I no longer find the doctrines of either “original sin,” or “imputed righteousness” believable. I don’t think the cosmos is the way it is simply because one human couple failed a test with some fruit, nor do I believe that a man being executed 2000 years ago “paid the price” for the “world’s sins,” and we ought to “eat his flesh and drink his blood” for the forgiveness of sins, not even metaphorically. Sounds rather paganish, echoing both vampirism and cannibalism.

    ____________ _________ _______


    A: Have you heard the latest?

    B: No, what’s happened?

    A: The world has been redeemed!

    B: You don’t say!

    A: Yes, the Dear Lord took on human form and had himself executed in Jerusalem; and with that the world has been redeemed and the devil hoodwinked.

    B: Gosh, that’s simply lovely.

    Arthur Shopenhauer
    ____________ _________ _______


    No chipmunk had to be crucified

    on a tiny cross of twigs

    To save all the other chippies,

    Had to have nails pounded

    through his little paws,

    Had to take upon himself

    all the sins of all the chippies

    that ever were or would be

    and die in agony

    So that after they died

    all the chippies

    could live again forever,

    But only if they believed

    in all the sayings and doings

    of the chipmunk crucified

    on the tiny cross of twigs.

    Antler, Last Words
    ____________ _________ _______

    Christians believe that God has established a bizarre system through which our sins are forgiven by the commission of the greatest sin of all [i.e., if murder is the greatest sin, then murdering God’s own son must be the “greatest sin of all.”--E.T.B. ] This is a deicide to haunt the mind. That such a thing could arise from an eternal, all-loving, omnipotent God is beyond belief.

    What are we to make of the juxtaposition of God’s requirement of this barbarous act with his directive that we should “love one another?”

    The saving death of Jesus represents a primitive concept, the principle of blood sacrifice both of animals and of humans that was regarded by ancient and prehistoric man as the fundamental way to placate and intercede with the gods. It was part of the natural order. In fact it was so taken for granted that no one anywhere in the Bible, Old or New Testaments, offers a justification for it, or an explanation of how it works. Christians today are just as much in the dark about why the death of Jesus should have atoning power with God. Ironically, those same modern Christians would universally regard the ritual killing of humans or animals as outdated and repugnant in any other area of society’s life. And yet they continue to endorse it by their adherence to the idea of Jesus as a blood sacrifice on their behalf.

    Earl Doherty, a review of “Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ” [The Jesus Puzzle webpage]


    Minister: "The message in the Bible is that we should forgive. And it was important that Jesus died for us, he died to save us all. God sent his most precious son. It was the way that God chose, He wanted to sacrifice his only son. He wanted to show us how important it was. So he chose the most precious thing in the world to Him. And the most precious thing in the world to Him was Jesus."

    Child: "Then why did He kill him?" com/watch? v=WQak6ng0RXQ
    ____________ _________ _______

    Don’t Christians ever wonder why killing God’s son was not the greatest sin of all? Or wonder how we could be forgiven for that sin, except by killing another savior whose blood must be shed to “atone” for the sin of killing the first one? And so forth and so on? At some point direct forgiveness, not based on a bloody sacrifice, has to intervene to break the endless loop. Maybe that’s why Jesus himself did not believe that God’s forgiveness depended on a bloody sacrifice, but instead taught everyone to pray “in this way…Our Father…Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.” Direct forgiveness.

    ____________ _________ _______

    The Old Testament taught, “The life is in the blood.” But science teaches today that if the “life” of an intelligent organism can be said to reside in a particular organ, that organ is the brain and nervous system, not the blood. The blood merely carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain. The brain guides the body, and is far more intimately connected to each person’s “life or soul” than the “blood” is.

    Even people with less than a high school education today recognize the priority of the brain over the blood, so much so in fact, that in the movie, Hannibal (about a cannibalistic serial killer), the thought of slicing out tiny parts of a person’s brain, cooking them in a pan, and serving the pieces to that person to eat has become in the public’s mind a more disturbing image than, say, serving a person a glass of their own blood to drink, which appears relatively tame in comparison. Because we know that a person’s brain doesn’t grow back like their blood, and we know that each person’s “life/consciousness,” resides in the most valuable organ of all, the brain. Some people even opt to freeze their heads in liquid nitrogen after they die in hopes of one day being revived (with the help of nano-bots).

    There also seems to have been a reduction in the number of sermons that focus on being “covered by the blood,” or “saved by the blood.” Today the phrase, “saved by blood” means receiving a blood transfusion, which does not change a person’s brain/soul. Even the phrase, “Jesus shed his blood for you,” simply brings to mind the image of someone’s blood dripping onto the ground, not doing much for anyone at all.

    I prefer a more “brain intensive” religion today, not one soaked in bloody metaphors mixed with magic.


  100. Jake,

    Do you consider your parents' Christian belief an exercise of their freedom of thought? Thanks for not condemning them (too terribly badly, and not directly). Please stay open and "free" in your thinking in the future.

  101. Jake,
    WOW!!! Reading all these post made my head spin! I had no idea my opening comments would be "one" of over a hundred! I look forward to spending some time with you & your dad come spring on the quad trails in the woods! Love ya son.

  102. Good for you, Jake! I wouldn't let myself see through my faith until the age of 48 (going on seven years now). How many years I wasted!

    So many here are trying to convince you you just weren't holding your mouth right or something. Problem is, in the Christian religion there are myriad ways to hold your mouth. Whichever way you did, there will be those who did it differently who will assail you for having done it wrong. And yet there are many, many who once did it like they did but no longer believe.

    You've made a good start. By all means, interact with your detractors. Ultimately, I think you'll find they have nothing valuable to offer you. They're driven by their own fears. After all, a True Believer has left the fold. What a terror it must be to realize that if you can, they might very well be next!

  103. Dear BMEJake, Wishing just to congratulate you on your process of deconversion. You have my empathy about the challenges this process required. There are others who went through it too. Science is great! I am basically a Buddhist after my deconversion process. But do not worry, I am not trying to rope you into yet another religion and Buddhism does not require you to believe anything that you first do not directly experience nor does it place a stigma of eternal damnation if you do not believe. Rather it is better to start with an open mind and just investigate life, and only believe in something if your reason and experience confirm it. I can tell that you are on this journey now. It does take a lot of courage to knock out any beliefs that do not hold water in this way and just be honest about what we really do know and really do not know. It takes a while to do this kind of house cleaning. The eternal hell thing just makes this process a little more terrifying, though I do think it is an unethical g-d who blows any sense of just proportion between sin and consequence when finite sins give infinite eternal pain. It is strange how when we are midstream in the process how this idea grips us even when we do not fully believe it. Then later on it is seen for the cruel, barbaric, primitive, and unethical idea that it is. Blessings, Will

  104. i'm praying for you

  105. Jake,

    I've been reading and watching from afar - and I appreciate you wrestling through these issues on your own, and being intellectually honest with your conclusions. That is commendable.

    I am curious, though, of your rejection of Christianity from evolution. I know some view them as mutually exclusive and cannot coexist, while others actually have no problems holding both.
    In your view, does evolution disprove God, just disprove the God of the Bible, or just make Him completely unnecessary, leaving agnosticism?

  106. Hey Andrew,

    Thanks for taking the time to read. I think you're question is great!
    My rejection of christianity ensued well before my discover of evolution. My lack of writing experience did lend support to this assumption, though. I initially rejected christianity and the god of the Bible because of inconsistencies and theological atrocities I found. These are topics of greater length and intensity, which is why I have not addressed them on this blog, yet. Leaving them out is probably my biggest regret in this post, despite the annoying length it would have added.

    I feel that theistic evolution is a very commendable view, though I don't believe I could accept it at this point. Evolution does little to say anything about the biblical theology beyond genesis. If a specific sect of christianity chooses to interpret genesis in light of evolution, so be it. That is a step towards scientific literacy that would otherwise fall on barren soil. However, once this view is accepted, I struggle to find interpretive consistency throughout the rest of the text. I find the whole "picking and choosing" biblical theology becomes prevalent, taking away from the strength of the argument.

    From my point of view, evolution take much away from the necessity of god, especially a biblical literalist's god. I have many good theistic evolutionist friends, all of which believe in a much different, almost foreign concept of god from what we were taught at calvary.

    Hope that helps!
    Best wishes,

  107. Shit dude, this is a really great story. You deprecated your writing skills, but this really had an emotional effect on me and to me that's good writing.
    All the best, and thanks for sharing this story.

  108. hey Jacob,
    read the whole blog, very thought-through and interesting :)
    can't lie, it makes me really sad, but i understand the doubts on creation,
    but there's much more to Christianity than creation, as you know!
    sigh.. i knew the teachers at our school were pushing us away from the Bible with their crazy claims and mean attitudes... but I sure wish you could see that God really did send His Son for us.. He really does love us and want the best for us. I miss not being in the Christian family with you anymore!

  109. Jake,
    Your story is my story. Right down to the DonExodus2 videos. Thank you so much :)
    Because of my deconversion, i have completely lost my loneliness, and my depression. It's really sad to teach kids that they're going to Hell unless they BEG some imaginary God for forgiveness. You are absolutely right about how it is designed to trap people into a neverending cycle of sin and repentance. The countless nights, I couldn't sleep because I was sure Christ would come and take away all my friends and family and leave me here alone. It was awful.

    I can now appreciate the universe and all its beauty. I feel connected to other people for the first time ever. I feel like I have finally found my place.
    So many times, thank you so much.

    message me if you want to talk to a like-minded individual.

  110. I also grew up indoctrinated in a fire-and-brimstone baptist church, then to 7th day adventism, and went through the same guilt at questioning God. When I finally let go of those chains, life has opened up for me. Congatulations!