Deconversion story of notable apologist's daughter

Discussion about scientific issues as they relate to God and Christianity including archaeology, origins of life, the universe, intelligent design, evolution, etc.
Post Reply
User avatar
DRDS
Senior Member
Posts: 638
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:55 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Undecided
Has liked: 8 times
Been liked: 6 times

Deconversion story of notable apologist's daughter

#1

Post by DRDS » Mon Jul 15, 2013 11:53 am

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyat ... her-story/

Hey everyone, I guess many of you all have heard of the CARM website or the Christian Apologetics Research Ministry Carm.org run by well known apologist Matt Slick. Well, recently one of his daughters de converted and became an atheist. The article above tells about her experience. When I used to hang out at Carm especially in the chatroom, I not only was around Matt but around his daughter too before she became an atheist. So this really hits me close since I've known them for quite sometime.

To get to the heart of the matter, this was taken from the article about what caused her de-conversion:

" This changed one day during a conversation with my friend Alex. I had a habit of bouncing theological questions off him, and one particular day, I asked him this: If God was absolutely moral, because morality was absolute, and if the nature of “right” and “wrong” surpassed space, time, and existence, and if it was as much a fundamental property of reality as math, then why were some things a sin in the Old Testament but not a sin in the New Testament?
Alex had no answer — and I realized I didn’t either. Everyone had always explained this problem away using the principle that Jesus’ sacrifice meant we wouldn’t have to follow those ancient laws.
But that wasn’t an answer. In fact, by the very nature of the problem, there was no possible answer that would align with Christianity.


I still remember sitting there in my dorm room bunk bed, staring at the cheap plywood desk, and feeling something horrible shift inside me, a vast chasm opening up beneath my identity, and I could only sit there and watch it fall away into darkness. The Bible is not infallible, logic whispered from the depths, and I had no defense against it. If it’s not infallible, you’ve been basing your life’s beliefs on the oral traditions of a Middle Eastern tribe. The Bible lied to you.

Everything I was, everything I knew, the structure of my reality, my society, and my sense of self suddenly crumbled away, and I was left naked.


I was no longer a Christian. That thought was a punch to the gut, a wave of nausea and terror. Who was I, now, when all this had gone away? What did I know? What did I have to cling to? Where was my comfort?

I didn’t know it, but I was free."

I was wondering what you all think, do you think it was mainly those questions she had or do you think it was something else that led to her de-conversion? But either way if it's ok, please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you all for your time.

Ivellious
Esteemed Senior Member
Posts: 1046
Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2011 8:48 pm
Christian: No
Sex: Male
Creation Position: I don't believe in creation
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: Deconversion story of notable apologist's daughter

#2

Post by Ivellious » Mon Jul 15, 2013 12:33 pm

It's an interesting story, though I have to say that I doubt such a thing could happen in a single event. If she was a faithful Christian, I doubt one question could truly "deconvert" her. My gut feeling tells me she was already doubting, whether she admitted it or not, and this moment was the proverbial "last straw" that pushed her in that direction.

I'd also note that if she is still rather young (which I'm guessing since she references a dorm room), then odds are nothing is firmly set in stone, obviously. Young people (myself included) are still finding themselves, in all sorts of ways. I'm guessing no one's 18-year-old self perfectly or even remotely reflects their future self.

EDIT: After reading the first line of the full article, I see that she is still very young. She and I are virtually the same age, so I stand by my second bit.

User avatar
jlay
Ultimate Member
Posts: 3616
Joined: Fri Feb 13, 2009 2:47 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Young-Earth Creationist
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 9 times

Re: Deconversion story of notable apologist's daughter

#3

Post by jlay » Mon Jul 15, 2013 2:57 pm

Really?
She says:
If God was absolutely moral, because morality was absolute, and if the nature of “right” and “wrong” surpassed space, time, and existence, and if it was as much a fundamental property of reality as math, then why were some things a sin in the Old Testament but not a sin in the New Testament?
Fundementally this seems flawed. From what I can see, she sees morality as existing, but wrongly assumes that God and morality are seperate things. As if God is beholden to some outside force called morality. Jac can better explain, as I see some key philosophical assumptions in her statement that lead her into asking the wrong question. And you cannot provide a right answer to a wrong question.

It's like me asking, why is it wrong for my daughter to stay out past midnight, but not wrong for Jerry's daughter? (Jerry's daughter is my wife, btw)

Oh, did I mention that her dad sounds like a real jerk. Can't say I blame her if this is the "christ" she grew up with.
“Now Rachael,” he would ask, “What is the hypostatic union?” 
and I would pipe back, “The two natures of Jesus!”


“What is pneumatology?”


The study of the holy spirit!

“What is the communicatio idiomatum?”


The communication of the properties in which the attributes of the two natures are ascribed to the single person!



Occasionally he would go to speak at churches about the value of apologetics and, the times I went along, he would call on me from the crowd and have me recite the answers to questions about theology. After I sat down, he would say, “My daughter knows more about theology than you do! You are not doing your jobs as Christians to stay educated and sharp in the faith.”


-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

User avatar
DRDS
Senior Member
Posts: 638
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 1:55 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Undecided
Has liked: 8 times
Been liked: 6 times

Re: Deconversion story of notable apologist's daughter

#4

Post by DRDS » Mon Jul 15, 2013 8:42 pm

Oh, did I mention that her dad sounds like a real jerk. Can't say I blame her if this is the "christ" she grew up with.
Yeah I certainly agree. He's not the nicest or most civil apologist out there. He can be very rude and obnoxious. He even admits it and seems to take pride in it. Plus he's either a hyper Calvinist or he's pretty close to one.

The Protector
Recognized Member
Posts: 70
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 1:58 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Theistic Evolution
Location: Washington, D.C.
Has liked: 0
Been liked: 0

Re: Deconversion story of notable apologist's daughter

#5

Post by The Protector » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:20 pm

It seems to me her question gets to the heart of what was discussed in the uber-long thread about whether or not old testament laws are still binding on Christians today. Not to dredge that up, but I think the answer, as Jlay hinted at (I think), is that violation of the old testament laws was unlawful (at the time) but not "sinful," strictly speaking, except inasmuch as is it contradicted a command from God. "Good" and "Evil," which is to say "holy" and "sinful," exists to the extent that someone or something approximates or deviates from God's very nature, respectively. The OT laws help us to understand what that nature is (and, conversely, what evil is -- what Augustine called "aversio," or turning away from God), but they were not a strict and exact demarcation of that nature. For example, wearing a garment made of two different materials isn't evil or sinful in and of itself, but it reminds us of the dangers and evils of syncretism (and, more to the point, it served as a daily reminder to a headstrong, wayward people who repeatedly strayed from God even after witnessing miracle after miracle on their behalf).

But that's just my opinion, and I am still rather immature and ignorant in my faith. Others will differ, no doubt.

Oh, and yeah, I agree with Jlay on the second point: Repeatedly using your kid as a prop is not a good idea. And while educating our children about God and bringing them up in the Lord is our duty as parents, quizzing them about esoteric theological terms is probably a good way to sew resentment in the long run; as children they will happily oblige to please their parents, but as adults they will likely recall such things unhappily, even if they remain faithful.

User avatar
RickD
Board Moderator
Posts: 21644
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2010 7:59 am
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Day-Age
Location: Kitchen
Has liked: 203 times
Been liked: 1110 times

Re: Deconversion story of notable apologist's daughter

#6

Post by RickD » Tue Jul 16, 2013 5:14 am

DRDS wrote:
Oh, did I mention that her dad sounds like a real jerk. Can't say I blame her if this is the "christ" she grew up with.
Yeah I certainly agree. He's not the nicest or most civil apologist out there. He can be very rude and obnoxious. He even admits it and seems to take pride in it. Plus he's either a hyper Calvinist or he's pretty close to one.
I don't think Matt Slick is a Hyper-Calvinist

And actually, I'm kinda ashamed to admit(because I reference his site) that I had no idea that Matt Slick is a Calvinist.
John 5:24
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Kenny wrote:
"You don’t need faith, logic, reason, proof, or anything else to be atheist, all you need to do is reject what someone told you."



St. Richard the Sarcastic--The Patron Saint of Irony

PaulSacramento
Board Moderator
Posts: 9228
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 12:29 pm
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Theistic Evolution
Location: Ontario, Canada
Has liked: 124 times
Been liked: 349 times

Re: Deconversion story of notable apologist's daughter

#7

Post by PaulSacramento » Tue Jul 16, 2013 5:42 am

Reminds me of what happened to Bart Ehrman.

When we place our faith in anything BUT Christ ( in Bart's case, HIS understanding of what an inerrant bible meant and in Her case, faith in human doctrine and understanding of the bible), our faith is only as strong as WE are, only as strong as our ability to reconcile it with what we THINK makes it strong.
Crush that and you crush faith.

BUT, when we place our faith in CHRIST, in HIM PERSONALLY and not through the filters of doctrine of the bible, then we have a faith that is based on a personal relationship with Christ and Our Father through the HS and NOT through anything "man made".

As for her issues with OT VS NT "sin", I think that was more of an excuse than a reason because, there are many views that address why what CERTAIN things were viewed as sinful for the Hebrew people as they were being made into "god's people" to make them distinct from their neighbors and to also accommodate to them after they generations on bondage and prepare them for the coming of Christ and why they didn't apply to gentiles.
Things like dietary restrictions for example but the truth is, what specifics, its kind of hard to know what "sins" she is referring to.
That said, I think the passage from Ezekiel clears up a great deal about "laws that were changed in the NT":
Ezekiel 20:25
"I also gave them statutes that were not good and ordinances by which they could not live;

And in context:
God’s Dealings with Israel Rehearsed

20 Now in the seventh year, in the fifth month, on the tenth of the month, [a]certain of the elders of Israel came to inquire of the Lord, and sat before me. 2 And the word of the Lord came to me saying, 3 “Son of man, speak to the elders of Israel and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Do you come to inquire of Me? As I live,” declares the Lord God, “I will not be inquired of by you.”’ 4 Will you judge them, will you judge them, son of man? Make them know the abominations of their fathers; 5 and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “On the day when I chose Israel and [c]swore to the [d]descendants of the house of Jacob and made Myself known to them in the land of Egypt, when I [e]swore to them, saying, I am the Lord your God, 6 on that day I swore to them, to bring them out from the land of Egypt into a land that I had [f]selected for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands. 7 I said to them, ‘Cast away, each of you, the detestable things of his eyes, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.’ 8 But they rebelled against Me and were not willing to listen to Me; [g]they did not cast away the detestable things of their eyes, nor did they forsake the idols of Egypt.

Then I [h]resolved to pour out My wrath on them, to accomplish My anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. 9 But I acted for the sake of My name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they lived, in whose sight I made Myself known to them by bringing them out of the land of Egypt. 10 So I took them out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. 11 I gave them My statutes and informed them of My ordinances, by which, if a man observes them, he will live. 12 Also I gave them My sabbaths to be a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them. 13 But the house of Israel rebelled against Me in the wilderness. They did not walk in My statutes and they rejected My ordinances, by which, if a man [j]observes them, he will live; and My sabbaths they greatly profaned. Then I [k]resolved to pour out My wrath on them in the wilderness, to annihilate them. 14 But I acted for the sake of My name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations, before whose sight I had brought them out. 15 Also I swore to them in the wilderness that I would not bring them into the land which I had given them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands, 16 because they rejected My ordinances, and as for My statutes, they did not walk in them; they even profaned My sabbaths, for their heart continually went after their idols. 17 Yet My eye spared them rather than destroying them, and I did not cause their annihilation in the wilderness.

18 “I said to their [l]children in the wilderness, ‘Do not walk in the statutes of your fathers or keep their ordinances or defile yourselves with their idols. 19 I am the Lord your God; walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and [m]observe them. 20 Sanctify My sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between Me and you, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.’ 21 But the children rebelled against Me; they did not walk in My statutes, nor were they careful to observe My ordinances, by which, if a man observes them, he will live; they profaned My sabbaths. So I [n]resolved to pour out My wrath on them, to accomplish My anger against them in the wilderness. 22 But I withdrew My hand and acted for the sake of My name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations in whose sight I had brought them out. 23 Also I swore to them in the wilderness that I would scatter them among the nations and disperse them among the lands, 24 because they had not observed My ordinances, but had rejected My statutes and had profaned My sabbaths, and their eyes were [o]on the idols of their fathers. 25 I also gave them statutes that were not good and ordinances by which they could not live; 26 and I pronounced them unclean because of their gifts, in that they caused all [p]their firstborn to pass through the fire so that I might make them desolate, in order that they might know that I am the Lord.”’

27 “Therefore, son of man, speak to the house of Israel and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Yet in this your fathers have blasphemed Me by acting treacherously against Me. 28 When I had brought them into the land which I swore to give to them, then they saw every high hill and every leafy tree, and they offered there their sacrifices and there they presented the provocation of their offering. There also they made their soothing aroma and there they poured out their drink offerings. 29 Then I said to them, ‘What is the high place to which you go?’ So its name is called [q]Bamah to this day.”’ 30 Therefore, say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Will you defile yourselves [r]after the manner of your fathers and play the harlot after their detestable things? 31 When you offer your gifts, when you cause your sons to pass through the fire, you are defiling yourselves with all your idols to this day. And shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live,” declares the Lord God, “I will not be inquired of by you. 32 What comes [t]into your mind will not come about, when you say: ‘We will be like the nations, like the tribes of the lands, serving wood and stone.’

User avatar
Kurieuo
Honored Member
Posts: 10034
Joined: Thu Aug 05, 2004 6:25 am
Christian: Yes
Sex: Male
Creation Position: Progressive Creationist
Location: Qld, Australia
Has liked: 648 times
Been liked: 665 times

Re: Deconversion story of notable apologist's daughter

#8

Post by Kurieuo » Tue Jul 16, 2013 8:09 pm

At best, her logic leads to a God who can do both "good" and "bad". And yet, this also undermines an objective morality for us which would have no basis. Nothing would be really "good" or "bad" beyond whimsical divine and social constructs.

There is also a difference between moral law and moral values. While some might frame it this way, no Christian apologist I've read says that God is "absolutely moral", but rather "absolutely righteous" -- which is different. What comes from that, are moral values, and from moral values come moral laws which can change according to circumstance and situation (e.g., moral dilemmas where two moral values clash against each other no matter the decision).

The situation in the OT is different to the NT. The same righteous God and moral values are in play, but the moral laws and application (who they apply to) change due to Christ. So, it seems, the answer is quite simple Christian theology-wise. Much harder is the emotional argument (which has no logic) of God's lack of intervention when extreme evils occur. Yet, that at most leads to disliking God, not disbelieving in God.

I guarantee you that she still believes in a morality where some actions really are wrong, and some things really are good. But, what does she based this on now? Her argument takes her to a rejection of some absolute morality, not a rejection of God.

This suggests, as Ivellious points out, that it wasn't one single event, or doubt that "decoverted" her. Rather her life experiences, time and ultimately her heart. What she offers now is simply her best analysis of why she deconverted. Obviously, she had doubts... but I don't believe doubt is bad or causes deconversion. One's heart and decisions in life do.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

Post Reply