In Chris’ video series Why I Am No Longer a Christian, he tells how his relationship with God had taken a bad turn in Deconversion—Personal Relationship (part 1 & part 2). In my previous blog I offered my personal take on the role the professor had taken in Chris’ life. For Chris, “going on with the professor” was all he had anymore. His relationship with God at this point seems to have been replaced with the more physical and emotionally charged relationship he had with the professor. Turning back to his prior life now seemed impossible, because Chris’ church life had by this time become “increasingly troubled and hollow.”
His email correspondence with the professor seemed to be his only “lifeline” to experience the passion he craved—for Chris’ Christianity was founded upon his emotional relationships with God and other Christians. His understanding of the Bible was never what one might assume given his profound testimony of his relationship with God, which he offers in these two videos. While it isn’t wrong to be so emotionally involved in one’s faith, the emotion needs to be supported with the truth that one can find only in the Bible. Nevertheless, Chris never did this, according to my take on his video series. Emotion is a wonderful thing, but it is a very weak foundation for any relationship, whether marriage or with God.
Chris engaged the professor in a religious debate and found himself outclassed. After all, the professor was once a missionary, according to his early statements. He knew how to convince people who had a weak foundation in their own worldview. This is where the professor really shined. In fact, he shined as bright as Lt. Tom Keefer in The Caine Mutiny. Keefer was educated too, and also outclassed his friend and colleague, Lt. Steve Maryk. Maryk was not as well educated as his friend, but he was more courageous and more sincere. It was easy for Keefer to manipulate Maryk without him ever realizing what was going on. In fact, no one knew the real Keefer, until he was exposed later by the well trained defense lawyer, Lt. Barney Greenwald, played by Jose Ferrer. The movie is a fascinating study in human personality and behavior, yet everyone knows that movies aren’t real, but, sadly, Chris and the professor are real. Lives do make shipwreck, and all the Keefers are not exposed, because a Barney Greenwald isn’t always around to help a Steve Maryk, who is barely keeping his head above the deep dark waters of ruin and failure.
The professor’s advice to Chris was to “sit back, relax and take notes.” He was now able to complete the task he had begun on that Amazon review of an electronic Bible that attracted Chris:
“After the problems of navigating in it are mastered, the reader of this Bible will find the same old problems of credibility that exist in any of the other Bible translations or formats: the talking snake, the sun and stars created after the earth, the sun placed in the sky after fruit trees are on the earth, woman created after man, rainbows not occurring until after Noah’s flood, sticks turned into serpents, a woman turned into a pillar of salt, little children killed on God’s orders because they are unlucky enough to have the wrong parents, and so on.
“I’m still waiting for the Bible translation honest enough to begin in this sort of way: ‘WARNING: Literal belief in these stories may be hazardous to your health. Bear in mind that they were written by primitive and superstitious Bedouin sheepherders, ignorant by today’s standards.’”
This was not a kind review by any standard, but it was enough to draw Chris into an email relationship that was climaxed with Chris sitting back, relaxing and taking notes as the professor set things right in Chris’ life—taking all the glory without shouldering any of the responsibility, a very Keefer thing to do. The professor explained:
“The concept of God is intricate and profound. If it were real, it would have drastic implications for the world we live in, but in all of academia, through all disciplines, we’ve found no reason to believe it is anything more than a concept. Given what we know, God is just a concept.” (emphasis mine)
Really? Has all academia and all disciplines agreed to this statement? I have to wonder what world the professor lives in. It certainly isn’t our world where such things are debated in academia by authorities on both sides of the question. I suppose the professor really means all academia of any import and all disciplines of any worth, but his bigotry lay hidden in his statement that was received by his admirer with great respect.
If God was no more than a concept, Chris’ relationship with God, even his entire Christian life was no more than a simulation played out in his mind. He thought it was real, but now he must admit it was no more real than a movie whose characters were all imaginary—like The Caine Mutiny!