In Which I Went from Being a Christian Fundamentalist to an Atheist

Five years ago, I left Christianity behind. It was not a decision made lightly, nor was it one which required a great deal of thought. If that seems like a contradiction, let me explain.

I wish I had journaled the situation — life-changing moments ought to be preserved, I think — the date, the context, all of it faded into the past. What I do remember is that I was upstairs in my home, sitting at my corner desk, doing some thing or another on my computer. Was I debating? Was I cross checking something?

A Bible lay open on the desk before me, the ancient words of Deuteronomy awaiting my eye. Why was I looking at that book in particular? Why chapter twenty-two in particular? 

I no longer know the whys, only that across the millennia, the latter portion of Deuteronomy 22 seared itself into my mind, setting ablaze within me not the passion of faith but instead a crisis of morality.

If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; 29Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

Deuteronomy 22:28–29, King James Version

Over and over I read those words, every time as if an ax were striking at the roots of my faith. Here were laws set forth by the god whom I loved — whether that love meets the definition of those who’ll claim I was never a “true Christian” is irrelevant — laws which were meant to, among other things, set apart God’s people while revealing God’s character to them.

Nothing about this passage seemed like the god I had come to trust and to love. It stank of moral putridity, of an attitude toward women which was so utterly demeaning I couldn’t conscionably align myself with it.

In that passage of holy writ, my faith died. I asked myself how I, a lowly sinner, could possibly be more moral than God; how could I continue under the impression that God is love!

I “fell from grace” in the fall of 2010, and for several months I really didn’t know what I was. I had grown accustomed to believing in a god, to believing in something and so I didn’t immediately become an atheist — or as I would come to realize, return to being an atheist, the state into which we are all born.

A few months of faux paganism and vague deism passed by. By December of 2010, I was sharing atheist-related content on Facebook, albeit rarely, and not so much because I identified as an atheist but purely out of curiosity with what was said.

Several years have passed, and I don’t regret in the slightest having given up on the so-called narrow way.

Oh, and yes, I know it is cliché: I became an atheist by reading the Bible, apart from the crutch of commentaries, footnotes, and other writings which provide Christians a convenient buffer between our eyes and ears and what the Bible actually says.

What the Bible actually says… If there is one thing I do believe, it’s that what the Bible really says would surprise most any Christian. I look forward to exploring those things with you, while also learning about your path to, from, or around religion.

Featured image: The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus (cropped) by Peter Paul Rubens, 1617 (public domain)

4 thoughts on “In Which I Went from Being a Christian Fundamentalist to an Atheist”

  1. Rick, you didn’t become an Atheist because you read the Bible. You became an Atheist because you hardened your heart against God, and did not ask Him for wisdom to know the truth.

    Not only are you an unbeliever, you are the worst kind of unbeliever. For you have become a mocker of God, and a hater of Christians. You can deny the hate you have. But your words reek of hatred towards God and those who believe in Him.

    Frankly, your words lead me to conclude that you are not a true intellectual, but someone who is immature and lacks wisdom.

    If you remain on the path you are on, not only will you face the God you deny exists, you will also be filled with shame. It doesn’t have to end that way, however. You still have time to turn from your evil ways. For your sake, I hope you turn back to God.

    Unfortunately, you won’t be able to undue the damage you have likely caused as a result of publishing so much hateful content about God. Nevertheless, God is merciful. He will take you back—if you humble yourself before Him and repent.

    “But if a wicked man turns from all his sins which he has committed, keeps all My statutes, and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. (22) None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him; because of the righteousness which he has done, he shall live.” — Ezekiel 18:21-22 NKJV

    “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” — 1John 1:9 NKJV

    1. Hey, JIL, thanks for your comment! A written reply didn’t seem altogether suitable, so I replied in video, which I hope you’ll give a watch.

      Long story short, you sound a lot like Me From the Past; honestly, your comment is one I could have written to an atheist years ago, and you made all the same mistakes I used to make too, as detailed in the video reply.

      Have a great day!

  2. Hi Rick. Seeing this post saddens me. I think the commenter above “JIL” as you called them in your video has too many words of condemnation for you. That is not our place.

    I was reading some of your work from prior to 2010 (or 12010 as you prefer to use now) and found it to be quite enlightened and well thought-out. I suppose that’s why reading this surprised me so much, that the passage in Deut 22 wasn’t given a fair shake, so to speak. It is my hope that you re-examine this passage with a reliable commentary that can provide context. Of course, each of our faith journeys are personal, and I know that God has a plan for you even in your time of doubting. I know he did for me, and I look back now at my atheistic time knowing that it brought me wisdom.

    God bless you. And also I thank you for leaving your old posts up for reading.

    1. What would you consider a reliable commentary? Matthew Henry, Gill, Scofield, and so many others are ones I reference, and while plenty of them are willing to put the passage in question into a historical context (e.g., the command was to protect women because non-virgin single ladies had no “value” in that society), none of them took the next step to accept just how monstrous that situation is, particularly given that it is a situation designed by a “just” and “good” God as part of his “just” and “good” law.

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