Chris, the young atheist whose recordings I’ve been discussing, claims in his next two videos, Deconversion—Personal Relationship (part 1 & part 2) that he had been taught from his youth onward to see God in everything, “any miraculous event, any scientific wonder, any mathematical intricacy, any fortuitous personal action—all were assigned ownership to God. God was the source of all beauty, all power and all knowledge.” Anything Chris experienced, whether good or bad, was because of him.
Personally, I’ve never heard one testify of his personal relationship with God more beautifully or more profoundly as Chris does in these videos, which is further evidence, at least for me, that Chris was, indeed, once a Christian. Both the vocabulary and the emotion are there. While someone may be able to fake one or the other, I don’t believe he could fake both. Someone could be excited about the wrong thing, or another might know what is correct about Christianity but not understand its value, and hence the excitement wouldn’t be there, or it would be expressed for the wrong reasons or in the wrong places. Nevertheless, Chris has it correct everywhere I look in his video testimonial.
During his junior year in college Chris began having trouble in his personal relationship with God. It began a few months before he ‘met’ the professor, so Chris had yet to have his relationship with other Christians challenged or his understanding of the Bible being God’s word challenged. Nevertheless, his understanding of intercessory prayer and the source of morality were weakened. Whether this was enough to affect his relationship with God is unclear, but Chris was definitely going through a wilderness experience where the voice of God was not so clear as it had been to him. Since Chris was an emotional Christian, i.e. he felt strengthened in Christ when his emotions were exercised, he spent a lot of time on the internet discussing the existence of God with atheists. It seemed that only here was he excited enough to feel the presence and power of God working in and through him. It was at this time and under these conditions that Chris became acquainted with the professor.
Chris told the professor: “Even if the entire Bible were a myth, it doesn’t change the fact that I’ve communicated with the mind behind this existence, and I call that entity God. If I have come to know him by an illusion, then it was for the greater good, because he used that illusion to bring me to him, regardless of the illusion’s intended purpose—if a hidden purpose was intended by human creators.”
Chris was taken aback by the professor’s reply to his deeply meaningful statement of faith. He merely said: “That is a very profound and beautifully worded statement.” Chris expected either agreement or rebuke, for this is how all his statements of faith were received by others up to this point. Nevertheless, the professor was different. Chris saw the professor’s reply as both appreciative of its personal value and dismissive as to its value for others. In other words, it was ‘very profound’ and ‘beautifully worded’ but it was merely a ‘statement’ and nothing more. My personal take on this matter is that the professor could not have been more insensitive. Chris was drowning and bobbing up for air, and the professor simply pushed his head down into the dark waters of disbelief and held it there. I do not see the professor as Chris sees him. He is not and never was his friend, nor were Chris and the professor ever placed together by God (as Chris thought in the beginning).
Chris was forced at this time to wonder if his relationship with God was nothing more than a ‘beautiful’ Christian experience, with no more meaning in reality than a beautifully worded poem or story “that was deeply touching but not true.” That Chris thought the professor was actually showing respect for his beliefs only shows how much respect Chris had for his new friend. Yet, from the very beginning the professor’s motives were marred with evil intent. Just as his original comment on Amazon was cruel and not kind toward Christianity, so was his dismissive reply to Chris’ deeply meaningful statement of faith. Nevertheless, Chris never saw it coming, but he felt the rebuke nonetheless—a rebuke Chris believed was a very respectful reproof. Although on the face, the professor kept warning Chris that the journey he was taking could only end his Christian faith, his role was strikingly similar to that of Fred Mac Murray’s in the role of Lt. Tom Keefer in The Caine Mutiny. Both the professor and Lt. Tom Keefer were key figures in the destruction of the future of an otherwise well respected young man, when that man found himself in some very dark and dangerous waters.