Agnosticism, Atheism, Christianity, Creationism, Culture, Evolution, Faith, God, Intelligent Design, Religion, Truth

8 Year Anniversary!

So today marks 8 years that I’ve been doing this blog. That’s a pretty big milestone! I had two posts on November 14, 2006, and I thought it would be fun to repost them here (along with a little commentary).

Here’s the first:


Well, this is the first official post of my new blog. Don’t expect much, though. I’m hoping to turn this into a weekly thing with posts centering around religion – specifically, “Christianity.”

Wish me luck… 🙂


So that was innocuous enough. Now here’s post number 2:


If you’ve spent much time perusing your Bible, you’ve probably stumbled across passages dealing with the “mystery” (and most likely, these were passages written by Paul).  In Ephesians 3, Paul spends time revealing the mystery to us: that the Gentiles now have access to salvation!  Wrapped up in this mystery is God’s entire plan of salvation – salvation for all!  But why is it called a “mystery?”  And should it still be “mysterious” to us today?

I think 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 best explains the way in which Christ’s gospel was/is a mystery.  As vs 18 says:

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

We can see from this passage that God’s plan of salvation makes no sense to those who refuse to believe it, but to those of us who accept it, it’s brilliant!  Verse 21 goes on to say:

21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

See, because the world is so “wise,” it views the concept of God as foolishness.  They have been blinded by their own pretensions.  For the Jews and Greeks of the day, it wasn’t that they didn’t believe in the supernatural; it wasn’t that they didn’t believe in deities.  Their problem was that they thought they already knew what God would do.  The Jews already had a fixed idea of what the Messiah would be, so when Christ appeared and didn’t lead them to victory against the Romans, they refused to accept him.  The Greeks didn’t accept Christ because they couldn’t conceive of a god allowing himself to be put to death by his own creation.  And because they already had things “figured out,” they missed their chance.

Today, people do the same thing.  They would rather put faith in scientific theories that have not been proven.  They would rather believe that all of the order we see in our universe (the fragile food chain, vast differences throughout the animal and plant kingdoms, the very specific orbits of planets, etc) was created through a giant explosion (something that, in all practical applications, has only been shown to destroy, not create).  Have they been blinded by their own “wisdom?”

Too often, even those who profess to be religious only listen to their own ideas about what God wants.  Many times they view the Bible as a collection of stories or suggestions, and not the “wisdom of God that leads to salvation” that 1 Corinthians purports it to be.  How is that different from what the Jews and Greeks were condemned for?

Throughout the Bible, passages talk about truth and understanding.  I firmly believe that God gave us understanding and intellect for a reason.  We are supposed to be able to understand God’s message for us.  It’s not supposed to be “mysterious” any longer.  It’s not supposed to be some “better felt than told” experience.  No, God’s word is supposed to be powerful and undeniable.  It’s supposed to move us and touch us in a way that nothing else can.  But for it to do that, we have to read it, study it, know it.


It’s a little painful to read through that. I cringe when I read how badly I understood things about evolution and the Big Bang back then, or when I alluded to non-Christians as just being those who “refuse to believe it”. It’s kind of funny, but I was guilty of the same thing I was accusing others of. I thought I had the answers, but I had never taken time to really examine any other point of view.

The one decent thing from the post that serves as a bit of foreshadowing about where I would eventually wind up is the last paragraph. You can see that while I was firmly ensnared in Christianity, I believed that it was not supposed to be utterly mysterious. It was supposed to be consistent and “undeniable.” It took a while, but I finally realized that Christianity just didn’t deliver in that regard.

Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed this little jaunt down memory lane. Someone suggested to me recently that I should think about doing this kind of review with more of my old posts. I’ve been considering it… Thoughts?

342 thoughts on “8 Year Anniversary!”

  1. I like the suggestion to review old posts. That is one of the most fascinating things about your blog – that you can walk through time and see the transition. Most of these types of blogs start after a transition has completed or is already well under way. It would be very interesting to see you retrospect on your old self and the process of transformation.

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  2. Congrats on the anniversary Nate! An awesome blog with great conversations.

    I agree with Travis – it’s so cool how your blog contains the different views you’ve had through time. Responding to your old self also sounds like a great idea.

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  3. Actually, I am currently in conversation with a young lady who is teetering on the brink, and I had already considered sending her to Matt’s, Neuro’s and your sites, to better understand what you (pl) went through in the process of deconversion. Personally, I began questioning as a child, and really can’t hold my experience up as an example, as some of you, who have served on church boards, and been otherwise deeply involved in religious activities, then made a total about face.

    For her, at least, you couldn’t have posted this at a better time.

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  4. That’s so very cool. Seeing where you were, and where you are. If you could send Nate 2006 one message, a short message, something to focus on to help him progress, what would it be? (You don’t have to answer that… It’s not easy).

    And Congratulations on the Anniversary!

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  5. Thanks arch — I hope she gets something of value from it. Tell her if she checks in over here, that she’s welcome to comment on any of my posts, or even send me a message through my ‘contact’ page, if she wants.

    Thanks John! And what a great question…

    I think I would ask myself “how do you know you can trust the Bible?” The inerrancy issue really was the biggest thing for me. My entire belief hinged on whether or not the Bible was trustworthy. And while I was very interested in studying the Bible and understanding it more fully, I just wasn’t that interested in the various manuscripts or in ancient secular history. I had heard over and over that archaeology, history, and the manuscript evidence only bolstered the Bible’s claims, and since I didn’t run into anyone who knew that wasn’t true, it just never dawned on me that those claims might not be justified. But if someone had challenged me on that presumption, I would have felt the need to research it, and I think that would have led me here.

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  6. I caught up with you after you’d already left the church. Now, after reading these two earlier posts, it makes me want to go back (when I can find the time!) and “watch” the transition. Fascinating how we change as we move through time …

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  7. Well, unfortunately, the actual transition wasn’t documented here. I was too afraid to voice any of my thoughts publicly at that time, which is why there’s a big gap in the blog from June 2009 to February 2011. So you get “before” and “after” here, but not much of what happened in between.

    I do have a lot of that in emails though, and I may post some of that soon.

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  8. Congratulations on the bloggiversary!

    I went back and read some of the first posts I wrote the other day, myself. It’s amazing the difference. I didn’t start my blog until I was in the throes of doubt but the transition is evident.

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  9. Congrats.

    The secret to moving forward is accepting the premise that you might be mistaken. It’s a way of life for me.

    Unfortunately, the others within my social sphere assume that they have ‘arrived’.

    This makes for a totally insane dysfunctional environment for me.

    It is the reason I have concluded that people are chaotic and irrational.

    I could be wrong.

    But then I know the people in my social groups are wrong.

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  10. “You can see that while I was firmly ensnared in Christianity, I believed that it was not supposed to be utterly mysterious. It was supposed to be consistent and “undeniable.” It took a while, but I finally realized that Christianity just didn’t deliver in that regard. ”

    Nate, what passages do you base this on? Where does it say that Christianity is “undeniable”.. that we shouldn’t / can’t question? And “consistent” also.. what are the exact passages that support these assertions that you’ve based your whole “newfound” beliefs on? “Consistent” is subjective in relation to biblical context. And as you’ve shown in our exchanges, you don’t apply objectivity when you make these claims of inconsistency. It’s sad to see your “progression”. I don’t see any real objectivity. I’ve challenged you many times on this and you never follow through.. which only supports my assertions.

    What are the specific passages that you base this assertion of “undeniable” and “consistency” on? And how do you know you are applying true objectivity when you decide there is a lack of consistency?? What are your most compelling examples of inconsistency?

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  11. Thanks to everyone for all the great comments.

    Hi Kathy,

    First of all, deciding whether or not the Bible is consistent is a personal decision that everyone must make. No one can ever know for sure if they are objectively right about it; we all just have to do the best we can.

    But to answer your questions, does it make sense for God to communicate to us, but not make that communication consistent? And by consistency, I’m talking about accuracy and coherency. I think of passages like 1 Cor 14:33, which says “God is not the author of confusion.” So I think any message we get from God would be trustworthy, and that’s why I think any contradictions in the Bible are marks against authenticity.

    In my very first “letter to Kathy” post, I gave you a long list of issues I have with the Bible. I also have a number of them linked in my About section, so just check those pages if you’d like to talk about something specific.

    Thanks

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  12. Hi Nate,

    8 years shows good perseverance, especially when the motive for writing (and living!) has changed.

    Usually when I start to take an interest in someone’s blog I read the About and I go back and read the first few posts to see what the blogger is on about. In your case I pretty much read right through, or at least skimmed right through. It was an interesting read.

    I think it must be interesting for you to re-read, because it must also bring back many thoughts and memories well beyond what is written. Also interesting for everyone is to reflect on how we may look back on what we think now in a decade’s time.

    Thanks for what you have shared – it is a pleasure knowing you in this way, even though it is distant.

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  13. Thanks unkleE! I really appreciate that, and I’m flattered that you took the time to go back through all my earlier posts (even if you only had time to skim them!).

    I’ve really enjoyed getting to know you over the last several years too. Visiting Australia is one of those “bucket list” things for me, and while I know it’s a huge country, I like to think that if I ever make it over there I’ll be able to track you and Ryan down. Probably a long shot, but I’ve so enjoyed getting to know everyone in our little WordPress community, and it would be great to meet you/them all in person. I actually managed to do that with Persto a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it!

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  14. Congrats Nate!

    Yours is one of the first atheist blog that I came across when I was deconverted and I really like the way you deconstruct the bible.

    Also, I think you have been the most patient blog writer that I’ve seen so far (and that includes Herman the friendly atheist). I sense no smugness, no uppity nor pride in your exchanges with believers and non-believers alike and I think that really suit your blog name “Finding Truth” perfectly.

    Here’s wishing you a blissful and wonderful life and long live the blog!

    oh and @kathy

    seriously can it. I doubt you know the meaning of “objective”.

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  15. “First of all, deciding whether or not the Bible is consistent is a personal decision that everyone must make. No one can ever know for sure if they are objectively right about it; we all just have to do the best we can.”

    Every decision we make is personal, and I agree, we should do the best we can to be objective. That’s my whole premise here. My point/ question to all of you has always been, “are you applying objectivity?”. You might *think* you are doing the “best” you can but what I’ve been pointing out is that if you claim you can’t do any better, it might be because you are allowing pride and ego to get in the way.. I’m saying/ have been saying that YES, you CAN do better.

    I have the very same goal here that you claim to have, Nate. Objectivity. My questions to you have always been about that. Am I doing something wrong by asking these questions? Are you saying you don’t want your objectivity challenged to see if it is flawed or could be improved?

    “But to answer your questions, does it make sense for God to communicate to us, but not make that communication consistent? And by consistency, I’m talking about accuracy and coherency. I think of passages like 1 Cor 14:33, which says “God is not the author of confusion.” So I think any message we get from God would be trustworthy, and that’s why I think any contradictions in the Bible are marks against authenticity. ”

    1 Corinthians 14:33 New International Version

    For God is not a God of disorder but of peace–as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

    Here is another example of you applying the incorrect context to scripture. The surrounding text is clear, this is about order in the church.
    I’m not trying to claim that God promotes confusion of scripture. I agree that God wants us to understand and not be confused. But again, you are distorting actual scripture to fit YOUR assumptions about God. There’s a reason I asked for the actual scripture to support your claims/ beliefs. 1 Cor. 14:33 doesn’t support your belief.. what are the others?
    It’s important to NOT impose your own views into the actual scripture.

    What you don’t consider.. where you fail to apply objectivity.. is in not asking yourself if there are possible reasons OTHER than Christianity being a false faith to explain the contradictions.
    You seem to *appear* to do this in your posts but I don’t think it’s honest objectivity.

    You make assumptions upon assumptions when arriving at your conclusions.

    Your examples of the “inconsistencies” of the 4 Gospels are easily explained but you reject those explanations based on an unsupported assumption that God wouldn’t allow the “contradictions” or “confusion”. Christians aren’t confused at all.. we accept the extremely reasonable explanations.

    1) 4 different accounts by different people are NOT going to match exactly.. if they did, it would THEN be a valid question of it’s Truth.

    2) If the Gospel is not true, if the Bible is fiction, why would these “contradictions” be included in the Bible? Why wouldn’t they have been “corrected”? Or, why not just one simple story.. instead of 4?

    You’ve never given a valid explanation for these points. And these are the reasons that Christians are not confused.

    God’s gift of salvation is not confusing.. it’s very simple and very clear. Everything else is left for people to either apply honest objectivity in sorting out or NOT apply honest objectivity.
    It’s about free will. It HAS to be.. because love cannot exist without the existence of free will.
    If God were to use divine intervention in making sure the Bible was crystal clear, and not affected by humans in any way, then why not go a step further.. and use His power to just MAKE us believe? Why not just make us “robots” and not give us free will at all?

    These are the questions that I would like the answers to of those who’ve decided to reject God.

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  16. @Kathy

    These are the questions that I would like the answers to of those who’ve decided to reject God.

    As you are unable to establish that there even is a god, and more to the point the god you worship, then nothing has been ”rejected”.

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