Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Clear thinking about Rachael Slick’s departure from Christianity

I saw that Brian Auten of Apologetics 315 tweeted a post from Right Reason by philosopher Glenn Peoples about Rachael Slick, the daughter of CARM president Matt Slick. Rachael recently announced her departure from Christianity for atheism.

Here is the passage where she explains why she left Christianity:

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?

Now this is not necessarily basic apologetics, but it is fairly easy to respond to, and I posted something about it earlier in the week. I just want to point out that I don’t really view these sorts of objections as serious objections, since the core of Christianity is about the existence of God and the resurrection of Jesus. Peripheral issues like Bible difficulties don’t really matter if the core is sound. The main focus in Christian apologetics isn’t on fine points of inerrancy or doctrine, it’s on God’s existence and the resurrection, which authenticates Jesus as the Messiah. More on that later.

I wanted to quote from the post that Brian found though, because I think this really explains some very important things that Christians need to understand in order to avoid these sorts of Bart Ehrman / Dan Barker de-conversion stories.

And here it is:

To a Christian who up until now has taken the faith seriously an an intellectual level, holding a view that this faith is robust enough to withstand a bit of light prodding such as this, the solution would have been a bit of light (yes, actually very light) reading on the subject – and there is plenty to be done. This is to say nothing about the rather idiosyncratic view of morality expressed here (comparing moral truths to mathematical truths does not bode well!). And yet this moment of dorm room theology banter lead headlong to this:

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.

Dramatise much? You couldn’t answer a much discussed question in theological ethics. You could have added a bit of learning at this point, but instead you make out that you intellectual world has been nuked. The closing statement sums it up better, I think: “I was free.” And that was really the point of this. Here’s my pick for the real culprit, in the next breath:

For a long time I couldn’t have sex with my boyfriend (of over a year by this point) without crippling guilt. I had anxiety that I was going to Hell. I felt like I was standing upon glass, and, though I knew it was safe, every time I glanced down I saw death.

But over time – thanks to the deconversion, that changed. It’s telling that she chose to draw attention to this. Numerous times I have seen people turn away from the faith, not because they became aware of new intellectual reasons to reject it, but because the appeal of remaining in the faith became dulled by the drive to live a life that was not compatible with it (and that number includes “apologists” for atheism). You see something, you want it. But you have this belief that you shouldn’t do it. So, as is human nature, you rationalise. You re-create the world of truth around you and what you want. “Maybe this Christianity thing isn’t true after all…” What changed? The evidence? Nope. The arguments are as good as ever. Your will is what has changed. This is confirmed by the celebratory comment that “Freedom is my God now.” No doubt, and that is what you were pursuing. Christianity hindered you, so bye bye Christianity. As was shown in the study Losing my Religion, and as I commented in a recent podcast about why some reject Christianity, there is a correlation between having sex outside of marriage and giving up one’s religion (usually Christian, in the American context in which the study was carried out). Other factors that correlate with abandoning the faith include drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders and get this – lacking a higher education. But that’s another matter, and of course does not answer questions about the truth or otherwise of atheistic or religious claims. It also makes sense that the time when a young person leaves their parents’ home and out into an environment where a smorgasbord of choices are now available to them is the most likely time that they will walk away. The comments thread at the blog where this story is told is full of the usual and can be paraphrased thus: “Oh, you taught her to THINK? Big mistake Dad, of course she was going to walk away!” Not even close to the mark. It was not critical thinking that sunk this faith. It was desire, as it so often is. The intellectual reason offered is absolutely flimsy, and certainly not offered an intellectually respectable presentation.

I think that’s very well said, and my experience with other decoverted fundamentalists has always been that they often had non-cognitive issues driving the deconversion:

  • boyfriend and girlfriend issues
  • popularity issues
  • sexual activity / sexual orientation issues
  • unrealistic expectations of a pain-free life
  • unrealistic expectations of God providing financially
  • unrealistic expectations of God making their foolish decisions “work out”

So here’s my advice to parents who want to avoid this sort of rebellion.

First, don’t concentrate on the inerrancy of the Bible as much as you emphasize the good philosophical and scientific arguments for a Creator/Designer. More effort should be put on the mainstream findings of science: cosmology, fine-tuning, origin of life, Cambrian explosion, galactic habitability, stellar habitability. The resurrection is also key, but should be defended with a minimal facts approach using mainstream historical methods – not by assuming inerrancy. The existence of God and the resurrection are the strong core of Christianity, not inerrancy. I am saying this as someone who believes in inerrancy for the autographs. It’s better to lay a foundation rather than trying to defend too much.

Secondly, don’t try to force children to act beyond what their worldview can bear. It is OK for you to have children and to go about doing your Christian ministry based on your convictions, without trying to demand that your kids operate at that level. Instead of telling them what to think, always try to show them both sides. Once a person sees a couple of William Lane Craig debates or Mike Licona debates, they are probably going to want to be like Craig and Licona naturally. But the main thing is that the actions have to be supported by knowledge. When the young person has taken the time to study on their own and sorted out the evidence for themselves, then they will be able to operate more and more authentically as a Christian. The studying comes first, and then the acting like a Christian comes second – at least in a challenging society like ours where we really have to know our stuff cold to stand firm. But you can’t expect the actions before the studying.

Third, don’t just rest your support or opposition to various positions on the Bible. For example your views on theism and the resurrection should be rooted in secular arguments and secular evidence. Consider it a joy when you can go outside the Bible and confirm something the Bible says with secular evidence. Especially scientific and historical evidence. Connecting the Bible to real world evidence eliminates the painful anxiety of being “separate” and “other”. Always make the data the issue, not the position. The data can be debated more easily.

For example, if the issue is gay marriage, spend lots of time talking about the health effects of the gay lifestyle on gay men, the effects of same-sex parenting on children, the social costs of HIV/AIDS, the scientific evidence against the “gay gene”,  the low levels of stability and exclusivity in gay relationships, etc. Look – young people don’t want to feel weird having to defend every moral conviction with the Bible in public. Teach them secular reasons for everything that the Bible says, and it will reduce their anxiety and make being a fully convinced Christian in public much easier.

I think that one of the biggest problems out there right now is that Christian men and women are under so much pressure to conform to the sexual standards of the day in order to have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Some people really want to have boyfriends and girlfriends who are first and foremost physically attractive, and their faith gets in the way of achieving that goal. They see superhot guys and superhot girls, and they think about how impressed their friends will be if they are “with” that person. Young Christians basically have a “God will provide the perfect person for me” view of relationships, and their method of figuring out who God wants is by having tingles, not by thinking about what marriage is and finding someone who can do the job. Very often, just being superhot is no guarantee of willingness to marry, though, and may actually be more of a guarantee that you are going to be pressured for sex. Did Rachael do a good job of choosing a marriage-minded boyfriend who values chasity and is ready to commit in order to get sex?

So what to do about that pressure for sex? Well, when I think about why I am totally convinced that premarital sex is stupid, it’s because I want my future marriage to last. And I have looked at evidence from peer-reviewed studies that shows that the number of premarital sex partners is a threat to relationship quality and stability. I want to make effective Christian children, and to impact the church and the university. I want my marriage to be an example to others. A divorce wrecks all of those plans. With the evidence in my hand from mainstream research, it is much easier to accept and act on what the Bible says about premarital sex. The Bible doesn’t have this data, we have to look outside the Bible to get the data to confirm it. Has Rachael looked outside the Bible to be persuasive about what the Bible says?

For a young person facing her non-Christian peers, parroting “the Bible says” is not as reasonable or defensible as saying “the Bible says, and mainstream scientific evidence confirms”. We need to make evidence the foundation. The problem with young people is that they are surrounded by other young people who are just as clueless as they are. A pretty easy question from a young friend cannot easily be answered by a person who has a very limited knowledge apologetics gleaned from Christian rock music and television shows. What we need to do is to get them looking outside of their peer group for answers, and that means connecting them to real scholars with real logical arguments supported by real mainstream science and history. We need to connect the Bible to the data in the real world.

Positive arguments for Christian theism

Related posts on chastity

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61 Responses

  1. Claire says:

    An excellent assessment of Rachael Slick and her “reasoning” for leaving Christianity behind. I find it interesting how the author reveals her real reason for leaving Christianity but it alludes her. She thinks it’s because she’s so smart and that she’s asked the really tough questions when it’s really all about wanting to fulfill her desires that conflict with her faith. Freedom, indeed.

    The intellectual rigor that Rachael exhibits reminds me of the inane drivel spouted in the recent CNN opinion piece by Meghan Laslocky, who writes that humans aren’t meant to be monogamous. They both remind me of the typical college freshman who, when exposed to a few new ideas, thinks they have all the answers. Frankly, I’m embarrassed for them both.

    • Thank you. I found the article you mentioned.

      Here it is:

      http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/21/opinion/laslocky-monogamy-marriage

      Sometimes I wonder how much of this is just Romans 1 stuff. Not only do they do bad things, but they encourage others to do them, so that being bad becomes normal, and no one is left to hold them accountable.

      This is why it is important to watch debates where there are too sides. I think that she was just too focused on minor things so that her faith was very brittle, fussing about all these minor details while ignoring the solid arguments for God’s existence and the resurrection.

  2. ChazIng says:

    From her response, Ms. Slick does not seem to understand the difference between law and grace. Rather, I think she does (she claims to have been drilled in apologetics from a young age) but like so many others, desired ‘freedom’ from the straight and narrow.

    • There was a picture of her winning an award for memorizing 800 Bible verses. I really think this was a mistake – shuffling children into activities where they are investing a lot of time in minor issues when they should be focused on basic stuff. How do we know God exists? How do we make a minimal facts case for the resurrection?

      And I think that people are often tempted out of the Christian faith over these moral and ethical issues. Young people don’t want to be judgmental and exclusivist with their peers. Memorizing Bible verses is not the way to get them to be bold on those issues. They need to be reading about these issues outside the Bible so that they can make the issue the evidence. Instead of quoting Leviticus on homosexuality, debate the Mark Regnerus study on children in same-sex unions. Instead of quoting Psalm 139, talk about the SLED test and the stages of development of the unborn child.

      I think the Rachael Slick story shows what happens when a child raised entirely on Bible, Bible, Bible and church, church, church is confronted with having to defend what the Bible says in public without any real evidence outside the Bible. This is my suspicion based on the “questions” she is puzzled by, which always have to do with the Bible and never had any connection to data in the outside world.

      • luke says:

        I wouldn’t go that far. John 6:37,44 clearly states the Father is in charge of who comes and stays in Christ. Trying to reason with someone who hates God will get you no where. You can not convince someone to become elect. While I think people like Craig are important, we have to remember we all hate God naturally and it is because of Him we believe, not because of ourselves.

        • Very very true. I agree. But still, let’s do the best we can, since God expects us to obey 1 Pet 3:15.

        • Alien & Stranger says:

          Then would you say my atheist husband and apostate son are not “elect”? We don’t know who God will draw to himself. I am trusting (and praying) that God will draw them to himself, that he will call my prodigal back from the world’s pigsty (not that my son sees it as such, since he’s doing very well in worldly terms!) and that Jesus will find and bring back the lost sheep.
          Maybe you prefer the Hebrews 6 and 10 passages, where, once apostate, there’s no more hope for the person’s salvation…

    • ChazIng says:

      Agreed, the sacred and secular are not to be separated but integrated to form better arguments.

      • Yes, and it’s Biblical. In the Bible you see Jesus appealing to miracles he did as a way of getting people to accept his claims about who he was. He showed things to people that they could see. That’s the Christian way – we are the “show me” religion.

  3. Andrew says:

    I would say it’s also important to be aware of the complexities of belief formation and the prevalence of self-deception. Too often people have a naive view of how, and why, they believe (or come to believe) something. This is double-edged of course but if one is self-aware it gives pause for thought. At the very least it helps create the space to study the nagging question.

    There are plenty of good resources on the OT law, and not just the three-fold division view. It’s a shame Rachel didn’t seem to study any of it.

  4. eMatters says:

    I appreciate her noting how her “deconversion” made it easier for her to sin by having out of wedlock sex.

    I feel badly for Matt Slick, but this doesn’t discount his ministry in any way. It is perfectly in line with his worldview that spiritually dead people will do spiritually dead things. Hopefully He’ll make her spiritually alive someday so she’ll convert.

    • I know a pastor’s daughter who is now shacked up with an atheist, and it happens a lot. I think that women raised in the church tend to have this happy-clappy view of Christianity being about community rather than being about truth. It’s stories like this Rachael Slick story that cause me to write those angry posts where I chastise women for making poor choices with men. I saw this all through my 20s and 30s and found it very discouraging.

      • Claire says:

        It is very discouraging. So many people choose to make themselves the final authority and denounce God. I can’t help but wonder what it was really like at home for her. It seems to me that when a person decides that the only authority they can trust is themselves that indicates that they learned to distrust authority at home and outside of themselves. I think that when you can’t trust your parents, you don’t trust anything outside of yourself including God.

  5. Joe Foster says:

    This young lady has made a common mistake – she has confused freedom with autonomy. She says, “Freedom is my God.” No, in reality, autonomy is her master. True freedom allows you to keep your life under control. But for that, she needs the guidelines found in God’s Word. Complete autonomy results in chaos, as all try to do only what they want and desire personally to do. Another term for that is “anarchy.” It is the polar opposite of freedom.

  6. Doug says:

    If I read her story correctly she left Christianity long before her supposed deconversion. She had been in an immoral relationship for at least a year. Why would she still consider herself a Christian whether she believed or not? The Bible is clear about people who live like that not entering God’s kingdom.

    • I’m always surprised at how many people bend the rules then break the rules and still keep showing up in church and identifying as a Christian. They keep redefining what Christianity means. Christianity means no sex outside of marriage. What is so hard to understand about that?

  7. I like your emphasis on bringing secular evidence to support God’s existence, our sinful nature, and the resurrection. I’ve realized as I get to know myself and the apologetics community that we should not forget a healthy emotional life. That it’s okay to be mad at or disagree with others, or even God for a time. That it’s important to have a small group of believers where you can be totally open, down to the level of sexual accountability. I don’t know much of the Slicks, but maybe something went wrong there too.

  8. Larry says:

    I am saddened that Young woman who was formerly committed to the Christian faith has left in order to pursue her sexual pleasures. While many of you are of Calvinist bent and are therefore ready to use the ” she wasn’t really a Christian anyway. ” mantra, I believe she was indeed committed to Christ and saved by faith. She just made a free choice to abandon her faith for selfish pleasure. She is simply justifying her choice by throwing out quasi intellectual reasoning and claiming the intellectual argument was the impetus behind her decision. While she indeed committed acts prohibited by Christian teaching, it is not her acts or lack of acts that saved her, it was Christ’s death and resurrection, and her subsequent faith in the effectiveness of Christ’s sarifice that brought her into relatioship with God. in the same way it is her denial of faith and her open leaving of Christianity that has removed her from fellowship both with God and with other Christians.

    • eMatters says:

      I wouldn’t call it a mantra, just a biblical truth. If she was really saved then she is still saved, albeit quite the “saved and confused” backslider. If she wasn’t saved before then she obviously isn’t now, but there is still hope for her. 1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

      • What of the many Bible Scriptures that refute the once-saved-always-saved position, especially 2 Peter?

      • lwaddell123 says:

        Yes I agree with John, if someone leaves the fellowship of believers and either denies, teaches or adheres to a different gospel then they are not of us. Doesn’t say, or prove that they were “never” of us. Just that by virtue of their leaving that they are now “not of us.”

        To adhere to the TULIP model one must either say that Miss Slick was either never saved and that she and her apologist father were self deceived by believing that she was. Or one has to add the possibility of “backsliding” to the mix. I am sure that Matt Slick believed his daughter was saved as she appears to have displayed evidence of Christian faith. So now we must decide is she saved and only backslidden or was she never saved and she and her family were deluded into thinking that she was part of the true church.

        According to TULIP all people are sinners by virtue of being born into the race of Adam, sin is inherited by being a descendent of the first couple who were also the first sinners. When the curse was pronounced, as all humanity still lay in the loins of Adam, all inherited not only his physical nature, but also his sin nature. Because of this all people are sinners incapable of choosing right, making moral decisions, or doing anything that could have a positive effect on their salvation. They are “T” totally depraved.

        Because God knew, and perhaps ordained that Adam and Eve would sin from before the creation of the universe, He unconditionally elected a limited number of people to salvation, based on nothing other than God’s random choice, no foreknowledge of a persons response to the gospel was used to elect the few and only the elect are affected by Christ’s death, everyone else is condemned to eternal separation from God, also known as Hell.

        A person, if elect, cannot refuse the gospel, they will be saved as the Holy Spirit sanctifies them prior to their confession of faith otherwise they would not be able to accept the salvation God has ordained for them. Any confession of faith or acceptance of the Gospel is an illusion. The saved cannot of their own will confess Christ or accept salvation.
        Once the elect person is brought into a relationship with God they will remain faithful unto death as there is no way for the elect to lose their salvation and any and all who appear to leave the faith were never saved and were only deluded. If a person enters into sin they were either not really saved or are in a backslidden condition.

        Backsliding is the phenomenon of appearing to leave the faith, practicing sin for a time and then returning to the faith to prove you were really part of the elect the whole time. I am not sure if backsliding is ordained of God since that would make God the author of sin and evil, or if it is a free act of the will, but we have already determined that there really are no free acts of the will, all is determined by God and any appearance of freedom of the will is but an illusion. So it would be totally consistent, in the Calvinist worldview, that backsliding (if there is really such a condition in Calvinist theology) is ordained of God.

        So we can see from the Calvinist TULIP model that Miss Slick was never saved, and has not really left the faith since she had no faith to leave or she is backslidden and will at some future date, known only to God, return fellowship since she cannot leave the faith if she part of the elect. However backsliding is a dubious idea and this author is not sure that true Calvinist would allow for such faith model.

        Some people here have tried to pin Miss Slicks failings on her father. But he did the best he could with grace given him by God and should not be held accountable for his daughters actions. Additionally since Miss Slick has no say in the matter of her salvation because she is totally depraved, she has no recourse but act accordingly. I contend there is no one to blame for Miss Slicks behavior but God as he has not chosen her as part of the elect, or he has ordained that she backslide.

        • rhology says:

          lwaddell123:

          Pretty low-quality attempt at critique.

          God’s choice is not random.

          This:
          \\no foreknowledge of a persons response to the gospel was used to elect the few\\

          evinces confusion between cause (election) and effect (response to the Gospel).

          This:
          \\only the elect are affected by Christ’s death\\

          is false. We’re not all affected THE SAME WAY. But all are affected.

          This:
          \\A person, if elect, cannot refuse the gospel, they will be saved as the Holy Spirit sanctifies them prior to their confession of faith\\

          is clumsy. Should be “as the Holy Spirit REGENERATES them prior…”

          This:
          \\The saved cannot of their own will confess Christ or accept salvation.\\

          equivocates. No one will confess Christ when they are unregenerate, of their own will/volition. The regenerate will confess Christ of their own will/volition.

          I’m not inclined to think that your opinion is educated enough to consider weighty when you say this:
          \\I am not sure if backsliding is ordained of God since that would make God the author of sin and evil…I contend there is no one to blame for Miss Slicks behavior but God as he has not chosen her as part of the elect, or he has ordained that she backslide.\\

          This:
          \\we have already determined that there really are no free acts of the will, all is determined by God and any appearance of freedom of the will is but an illusion.\\

          is also clumsy. Rather, the unregenerate will is enslaved to sin. True freedom is not found in autonomy, but in serving Jesus Christ.

          This:
          \\Additionally since Miss Slick has no say in the matter of her salvation because she is totally depraved\\

          is, again, clumsy. She DOES have a say, and her say is that she wants to stay depraved and lost, separated from God.

    • Andrew says:

      How would you explain 1John 2:19 then..?
      They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
      Also, You seem to be giving her a great deal of room for autonomy and then negating what The Word of God says in Romans 1: 21-32 which is replete with the confirmation that those who know Gods decree and then turn from it, God gives them over
      That implies that once God gives you over, you cannot reverse the situation .. Here Paul repeats again & again.. Because they knew – and then turned.. And he uses term like ‘foolish heart was darkened’, and ‘reprobate mind’ which I don’t think fits the description of a Christian..?

  9. V says:

    While the sexual thing is no doubt a big part of it, I’d suggest that was actually just a symptom of the state of her relationship with her father. She was in rebellion due to over-strictness.

    Constantly worried about doing things right because obedience was super important – no wonder she feels free now! She *is* free from a genuine oppression, caused by overbearing if well meaning parents. Some pretty good studies have shown a strong correlation between child-father relationships and later philosophical beliefs, and this is a textbook example of how it works.

    Want your kids to go off the rails? Push them too hard to fit a specific mold. Works a charm.

  10. Alien & Stranger says:

    Scratch under the surface of an atheist’s reasons for rejecting God and usually there’s a moral issue, although I know some people turn away from God when they “hit the betrayal barrier” and feel God has let them down, but then did they really know God?. The reference to Rachel Slick saying that she was now free is an exact echo of my apostate son, so her renunciation of faith is most certainly the culmination of a time of doubt and wrestling with her conscience and the moral standards with which she was raised. I know my son was struggling with some issues for at least a year or more before he finished school, then he got a scholarship to a university in a city over 1000kms away. At the end of his first year, he came home and during discussion announced that he was now a rational materialist, and stated that he now felt so free. The freedom was the licence to indulge in sex outside of marriage, of course. While he was growing up, he was the one of my children who had a very strong conscience, and possibly he didn’t have a full understanding of grace, so he came under condemnation when he felt he failed, so throwing off his conscience and the accompanying condemnation felt like freedom. My son has yet to see (conversely) how he is now in bondage to his lust. He rapidly became anti-theist, including being a fan of Dawkins (who my atheist husband regards as OTT). Our son is also extremely strong-willed, so for him to give up his autonomy and surrender once more to Christ will be quite something.
    In addition to teaching my children about the Bible, I taught my children the reasons why certain things are right and certain things are wrong, that there are consequences to doing right and wrong. They also heard apologetics talks that I played for them. However, when a person chooses wilfully to turn away from God to indulge in sin, they quickly sweep all that aside and resort to vacuous intellectual arguments to justify their unbelief (and there is a nasty little nest of atheists at the institution where my son studied!).
    This passage from Romans 1 sums it up nicely (although the modern atheist doesn’t turn to graven images – there are many other “idols”): “21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
    24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth about God for a lie…”

  11. The truth is that God the Father, as the only perfect parent, has only One perfect child. The rest of His children have a tendency towards rebellion against His perfect authority. How can we, as merely human parents, expect for our children to not rebel against our imperfect, earthly authority, as well as His perfect authority, especially given the corrupt world in which we live, as well as how busy satan is at all times?

  12. Joe Danger says:

    It’s strange for me to see someone walk away from their faith hoping something else will fill that void when it’s the opposite that brought me to Christianity, nothing I had done satisfied my desire for meaning/ purpose, i just always felt unfulfilled. I remember along the way to the cross i heard a quote from Ravi Zacharias and I thought it was so profound, he said “the loneliest moment in life is when you have just experienced what you believed would be the ultimate and it’s let you down” and he was right

    • Ravi has such wisdom. Here’s a quote from Madeleine L’Engle that fits, “”Because we cannot ‘see’ a God we can touch, a God we can comprehend with our rational intellects, we invent new gods to take His rightful place, all the little gods who have eyes and see not, ears and hear not, hands and touch not, and who have nothing to say to us in the times of our deepest need.”

  13. Jen says:

    Lately I’ve wanted to comment but been too exhausted to do so coherently—but this is a brilliant post, WK. I agree with every single word of advice you give to parents and those still seeking a mate. Brilliant. Now, as reward, you may have applause or a slice of lemon pie. ;)

  14. Andrew says:

    WK, your are spot-on. Any “reasoning” used to turn away from a belief in God has nothing to do with belief and everything to do with rebellion. I honestly believe that every creature, if questioned thoroughly enough, would admit to a belief in a divine Creator. People like Dawkins may say that God does not exist, but their words actually betray an anger against God, and you can’t be angry about something you don’t believe in.

    I was raised in an atheistic/agnostic household where the only religious activity was the usual semi-pagan celebration of the Christmas Tree and the Easter Bunny. We never went to church. Sensing something missing in my life, I spent most of my formative years trying to find “the truth”. This led me down many paths, including the possibility that life actually is utterly meaningless, but at no point did I ever really doubt God’s existence. I got angry at Him, rejected Him, was disappointed at Him (through a lack of understanding on my part), and rebelled against Him (I still do from time to time), but He was always there. God exists whether we like it or not, and we should honor him no matter what. I have been through some serious hardship in my life, but using that as an excuse to not believe in God is like refusing to believe in gravity because I fell down and grazed my knee.

    Agnosticism is laziness. Atheism is rebellion. This girl has not “reasoned” God away. She has merely found a way to justify to herself the desire to have guilt-free pre-marital sex with her boyfriend.

  15. I’m disheartened that Rachael has made her new condition known to one and all. How ultimately disrespectful and heartbreaking for her family. It’s as if she’s attempting to cast doubt upon her father’s life’s work, and as if she is proud to publicly humiliate him. What a diabolical scheme afoot for our government schools, media, music, art, literature, courts to teach our children to rebel against authority, especially God and their parents. I’ve witnessed such a hard-hearted, know-it-all nastiness coming from young adults these days, from teenagers on up to those in their mid-thirties. It’s a blessing we bond so tightly with, and enjoy, our children when they are new in this world – straight from God, so to speak.

  16. […] Theology and clear-thinking. […]

  17. Matthew says:

    In defense of Ms. Slick, I applaud her deconversion from Christianity. It reminds me of my own decision to renounce the Christian faith a decade ago. I defend her decision even if I don’t agree with the reasoning which shattered her faith. I am even saddened to see all the attempts at armchair psychiatry, which paint her as some selfish and childish person just looking to enjoy the guilt-free pleasures of the flesh.

    I believe that there are good reasons to abandon Christianity and even if Ms. Slick didn’t have a good one, I will be happy to share with her some very cogent arguments if she cares to know them. I have been reading Christian books for years and I regret the need of these authors to resort to far-fetched explanations that I see for many of the flaws in the Bible. It saddens me to see the late Gleason Archer and Norman Geisler bend over backwards with far-fetched explanations for the flaws of the Bible.

    The impression that I got from reading her story was that she was saddened and shocked by the conclusion that she reached; that the whole religion wasn’t true. It wasn’t that she was jumping for joy at the realization that the whole thing was bunk when she came to that conclusion. That would be rather true of me; I was nearly jumping for joy upon concluding Christianity is not true. I was ready to open bubbly bottles and toast my newfound happiness but I hate champagne.

    I am amazed at some of the snobbish comments that I see from some Christians. Poor Rachel, they say, was just not that well-educated; if she was, she would’ve seen that her objection is easily answered. She just isn’t that bright of a lady while the people making these comments see themselves as part of an intellectual elite as well as a spiritual elite. Poor Rachel is just sadly ignorant.

    While that could be true, I have studied flaws in the Bible and Christian theology which haven’t been answered. And this is not for a lack of looking, either. I have seen apologist after apologist try their hand at explaining these difficulties and they’re all sadly inadequate. I have read books on the genres, social world, and language studies of the Bible. I can’t speak to how much Rachel may really know of the Bible or the context of the biblical world but I am happy to educate her.

    Personally, I am much happier many years later as a non-Christian. I am not an atheist like Rachel (I am a Unitarian Universalist and I learn towards a type of deism). I would never want to become a Christian, even if I was never saved in all the years I really believed myself to be one. If I came to the conclusion that Jesus is risen and is lord, I would most likely end my life. Nothing can possibly convince me that Jesus loves me, even if I came to the conclusion that Jesus is risen from the dead. I would just take my own life and be done with it all.

    • lwaddell123 says:

      Which of Jesus’ teachings caused you to despair of his possible Lordship that you would kill yourself to avoid said Lordship? I am sure that you are aware that if Jesus is Lord he is Lord over death as well, therefore suicide would not free an individual from Jesus Lordship, rather death would only put one at the mercy of the Lord over life and death.

    • ChazIng says:

      @ Matthew, your opinion on the inadequacy of apologetical answers does not constitute an argument against their plausibility or truthfulness.

  18. The Janitor says:

    Matt,

    >>I am even saddened to see all the attempts at armchair psychiatry, which paint her as some selfish and childish person just looking to enjoy the guilt-free pleasures of the flesh.

    She opened herself up to being psychologically analyzed by publishing her biography and psychology. She psychologically analyzes Christians in her article. Did you complain about that?

    >>I am amazed at some of the snobbish comments that I see from some Christians.

    Are you equally amazed at some of the snobbish comments that you see from some atheists?

    The comments on Hemant’s site are dominated by atheists making snobbish “smarter than thou” remarks. The second comment accuses Mr. Slick of brainwashing, but says it didn’t stick because he “made the mistake” of teaching Rachel to think critically and honestly.

    The third comment adds “And he sent her to college!” As though having a higher education is what caused her to lose her faith.

    The fourth comment says “All it takes is one willing to give an honest answer to questions that believing in religion begs to ask.”

    And on and on it goes… Are the comments here anything as bad as the atheist comments on Hemant’s site? Nope. And I did a search of the comments section and notice that no one named Matthew bothered to go over there and decry the snobbishness of atheists. So apparently you just haven’t gotten around to going over there and voicing your concern over the snobbishness of the atheists or else your not really concerned with snobbishness per se, you’re just a partisan atheist looking for something to criticize Christians over.

    >>Poor Rachel, they say, was just not that well-educated

    What Christian has said that she wasn’t well educated enough? Of course Christians have pointed out that she obviously lacked a proper education *in biblical ethics*, but it’s not snobbishness to point that out, it’s just stating the facts. The issue that she says destroyed her faith is one that she wouldn’t have had had she been better educated about how the OT ethic relates to the NT.

    >>if she was, she would’ve seen that her objection is easily answered.

    Yeah. How is it snobbish to point that out? Suppose a young earth creationist says he used to be an evolutionist but he had his faith in evolution destroyed when he asked himself the question “If evolution is true, why are there still monkeys?” Would pointing out that if this guy was better educated on the issue he would have seen that his objection is easily answered be considered as snobbish by you? I doubt it.

    >>She just isn’t that bright of a lady while the people making these comments see themselves as part of an intellectual elite as well as a spiritual elite.

    That’s absurd. No one said she just ins’t that bright. No one painted themselves as an intellectual or spiritual elite.

  19. Rob says:

    I don’t normally leave a response but my heart and all of my being is rocked, I understand, I think, Rachael’s response, but oh how my heart goes out to her, oh the pain and suffering that will come about, if the Lord has His hand upon her. My Wife and I left the visible church for 9 years partly due to this reason (justifying sin), The pain that followed I shall not re-tell. But our Triune God is faithful, and if she is His, He will call her back, but in the mean time brothers and sisters, PRAY.

  20. Matthew says:

    Jantior,

    Thanks for responding, let me reply to your comments.

    1.) When I made my criticism of the “armchair psychiatry”, I noted that I was saddened by it because of the fact people will judge someone like myself or Ms. Slick without really getting to know the person. Some people seem to think that they have apostates, skeptics, and atheists all figured out. I saw some of the posts about Ms. Slick and it seemed like armchair psychiatry; people making comments about her state of mind without even getting to know her as a person.

    2.) You said that Slick engages in armchair psychiatry herself. Would you cite an example of this?

    3.) Many, many atheists that I have seen are, indeed, snobs. I used to be an atheist myself. I am not part of the Secular Humanist community and when some atheists found out that I renounced my secularism, I got snickered at and criticized. Quite a number of atheists did make snobbish comments about Matt Slick and other Christians. I agree with you and I would be happy to rebuke them but I am not sure what good it would do. Would you like to me try anyways? Seriously. I am the point that I have just about given up trying to reason with many atheists because some of them act so irrational and their comments don’t make any sense. That some of them are even bigger snobs than a number of Christians that I know of isn’t helping out their case. Again, I seriously ask you: would you like me to rebuke them just to go on record for having rebuked them even if it goes in one ear and out the other?

    4.) About the “poor Rachel” comment-that was my paraphrase of some of the comments that I have seen-from one post on here and posts elsewhere. Two commenst in particular that bothered me were from “Claire” and “Alien&Stranger” on this thread. Their posts seemed to me to be snobbish. Maybe that wasn’t their intent but her post rubbed me the wrong way. Ditto with “Alien&Stranger”. I got the strong impression that they just look down their noses at atheists.

    5.) I agree with you that it’s not snobbish to point out that she may not be well-read on biblical ethics or understudied on subjects like theology. Christians like yourself lovingly point out these things and you don’t do it snobbishly. What bothered me was reading posts from “Claire” and “Alien&Stranger”. And there are folks like James Patrick Holding who are *extremely* snobbish and would just write off Ms. Slick as being an idiot. He does that and it just saddens me because he has such a love for childish name-calling and abuse..

    6.) My comments about Rachel being judged as not being bright are paraphrases. This was the impression that I got from Claire and A&S. I got the strong impression that they were judging her as not being the brightest star in the sky. I also got the impression that they thought of themselves as being part of an intellectual and spiritual elite. It was their posts that inspired my post.

    I apologize for my paraphrasing as I can understand that it has misrepresented people’s views here. I am just judging from a few of the posts I have seen here. If I am in the wrong to think that people are being snobbish and no one has been, I will be happy to sincerely apologize for this. But, otherwise, I do stand by my decision to applaud Ms. Slick for leaving the faith.

    • The Janitor says:

      Hi Matt,

      Sorry it’s taken so long to get back to you. I haven’t been able to sit down at a computer the last few days, so I only churned out responses to what I could quickly type on my phone.

      It doesn’t really matter to me whether you rebuke the atheists too. My point is that your concern over snobbishness and armchair psychology look feigned when you pick one group, which is far far milder by comparison, for your shaming. If your real concern is snobbishness and armchair psychology why are you only airing your concerns to the party that has relatively speaking hardly engaged in it at all? This makes your worries over this look disingenuous.

      So, for instance, when you say:

      >>When I made my criticism of the “armchair psychiatry”, I noted that I was saddened by it because of the fact people will judge someone like myself or Ms. Slick without really getting to know the person.

      Shouldn’t you also have been saddened by how atheists have made judgements of someone like Mr. Slick without really getting to know him?

      >>You said that Slick engages in armchair psychiatry herself. Would you cite an example of this?

      “Atheists frequently wonder how an otherwise rational Christian can live and die without seeing the light of science, and I believe the answer to this is…”

      >>Two commenst in particular that bothered me were from “Claire” and “Alien&Stranger” on this thread.

      While I can see how Claire’s first comment could be taken as snobbish, though I’m not sure it is, nothing else she said or Alien&Stranger said were snobbish or guilty of armchair psychology (in a way that Rachel hand’t opened herself up to).

      As for your other comments about what you perceived in Clair and Alien&Stranger’s remarks, it looks to me like you’re just reading into their comments. I say this not based on simply reading their remarks and comparing it with your impression, but from the broader context of your criticisms relative to the atheist side of the discussion.

  21. Matthew says:

    lwaddle123, it wasn’t any of Jesus’ teachings that caused me any despair. A big part of it was failed prayer; I would pray for God to show me some sign that he loved me, some unmistakable sign that he was still there and that he loved me. I got cold, dead, silence, and I got the unshakable impression that I was being given the cold shoulder. This really hurt. I struggled with many questions and doubt and I remember reaching out to God and asking for help when I prayed for these sings.

    At times I thought that the devil was really coming after me with a full and deadly assault of spiritual weaponry. I remember asking God for help only to be met with dead silence. I came to conclude that God didn’t care for me or that God was playing childish games with me, and basically teasing me just to get a frustrated and angry reaction so he could tease me about me being “too serious”. I prayed out to God and nothing happened.

    I remember reading Ms. Slick’s testimony. I never went through any phase where I was feeling very guilty about having sex with anyone. I was and am still a virgin to this day. But I remember not just the dead silence from God regarding my doubts and questions. I felt extreme heartbreak because I was single. I wanted so utterly desperately for God to bring a lovely young lady into my life. When it didn’t happen in high school or college, I got extremely depressed and I felt suicidal. I felt abandoned by God. I felt this way for several years.

    My extreme and despairing heartbreak from the silence and the singleness murdered by belief that there was any such thing as a loving god. If I came to conclude that God was real and Jesus was risen, I could never love him. It would be impossible for me to get over the feeling of silence and abandonment as well as being single. If I found myself before the throne of Christ on Judgment Day, I would beg him to cast me into hell! Seriously.

    • Perhaps your hurt over not hearing from God was due to a misunderstanding on your part about how God usually relates to us. You prayed for a sign that He loved you and didn’t think you got it. But God gave you, and every other person on this planet, a sign that He loves you 2000 years ago when He died on the cross. What more do you want than that He was willing to die to pay for your sins – even your denial, disobedience, and betrayal of Him? How can any subjective emotional experience or modern day “coincidence”-type sign compare to that? If you thought the all-powerful God of the universe was going to be your personal genie that would come when you called in order to make you feel better about yourself, no wonder you were disappointed.

      I know that sounds harsh. But maybe love isn’t what you think it is. Maybe you didn’t recognize the love of God because it didn’t look like you thought it would. Maybe love is less a ooey-gooey, I’ll-make-everything-all-better feeling and more about doing what is best for someone (even if they don’t recognize that’s what you’re doing).

      Also, if you had doubts and questions, the way to handle those (rather than pleading with God to supernaturally give you all the answers) is to do some looking for yourself. Read some books, do some study. God is not going to just input knowledge in your head or whisper it in your ear when you are perfectly capable of looking things up for yourself. Your job, as a human being, is to seek God. Not ask Him to come to you without you lifting a finger to learn about Him.

      So, it seems to me that your “conclusion” that there is no loving God was entirely premature. You discovered that you don’t have a heavenly psychiatrist to make you feel better. That’s all. Perhaps if you really want to know if there is a real loving God, you should think about what real love is and what the powerful and holy God of the Bible is like, do some study, and look at the evidence. Then you might be able to say you’ve investigated the question. Until then, you’re on a temper tantrum because God isn’t who you wanted Him to be.

    • Doubt will lead to one of two inevitable consequences. Faithful doubt leads to a deeper embrace of the truth, with doubt serving to point us into a deeper knowledge, trust, and understanding of the truth. Pernicious doubt leads to unfaithfulness, unbelief, skepticism, cynicism, and despair. Christians who are struggling with doubt, need to seek help from the faithful, not the faithless. ~Dr. Albert Mohler

      The British nineteenth-century poet Lord Tennyson made this point rather nicely in his poem The Ancient Sage:

      For nothing worthy proving can be proven,

      Nor yet disproven; wherefore thou be wise,

      Cleave ever to the sunnier side of doubt.

  22. […] a post over at (where else?) Wintery Knight earlier this week and thought his advice to parents in response to a college-age woman abandoning her faith (after falling into some other trouble), and how to […]

  23. Todd Lewis says:

    Hearing about Rachel Slick, Aldous Huxley came to mind.

    As far as rationalization most atheist’s rational God away to engage in illicit erotic behavior, one famous example was Aldous Huxley see: “For myself, as, no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation. The liberation desired was simultaneously liberation from a certain political and economic system and liberation from a certain system of morality. … We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom; … There was an admirably simple method of confuting these people (Christians or establishment moralists) and at the same time justifying ourselves in our political and erotic revolt: we could deny that the world had any meaning whatsoever. … More serious writers associated political with sexual prejudice and recommended philosophy (in practice, the philosophy of meaninglessness) as a preparation for social reform and revolution.” Ends and Means pg 273-74.

  24. […] post picks up where Glenn left off, titled “Clear thinking about Rachael Slick’s departure from Christianity.” The author, “Wintery Knight”, references the passages I just quoted and concludes that they […]

  25. Matthew says:

    Janitor,

    Thanks for responding. I actually went back and criticized the worst of the atheist posters. I told this atheist that he owed Jews, Christians, Muslims, and other religious people an apology for such an insulting overgeneralization. How will they react to my comment? I don’t know.

    I am saddened that many atheists attack not just Matt Slick but also W.L. Craig and others. I happen to like W.L Craig but happen to think that his arguments are terrible. I happen to like other Christian apologists and think they’re very intelligent and gentlemanly. It saddens me the way atheists treat very intelligent and educated Christians like that. I respectfully disagree with these Christian apologists.

    Anyways, I apologize for not having rebuked some of these atheists first. After giving my post some serious reflection-I agree with you; Rachel opened herself up to being analyzed in terms of her motives and maybe she really is ignorant. I understand how my first post here really did seem lopsided and partisan. In fact, I retract my first post and I sincerely apologize for having posted it.

    I think a number of Christians are perfectly in the right to criticize her for her lack of education regarding biblical ethics and I think you are, too.

    I thank you for your civil response to me,

    Matthew

  26. Matthew says:

    Lindsay,

    Thanks for responding to me. It could be that I don’t understand how “love” operates according to the Bible. However, I didn’t expect God to be a genie who is at my beckoning call. I was very confused, upset, and disgruntled, and I wanted God to “explain” to me what was going on. I wanted a sign from him that he still loved me because I didn’t feel it in my heart. I *knew* in my head that Jesus loved us from the cross, but I didn’t *know* in my heart. It seemed like every time I prayed, I got a cold dead silence no matter what. I kept thinking that I was doing something wrong until I just gave up.

    The way that you describe God (well, your belief about God) seems to me to be emotionally distant. That’s probably not how you see it but that is the impression I get. What I was expecting was for God to appear to me personally or send some kind of angelic messenger to “straighten me out” if that makes any sense. But I became disappointed. I started to look and to study on my own and I eventually left the faith. Now, I am fine with you saying that you regret my decision and if you conclude that maybe my reasoning is somehow flawed-I respectfully disagree with you about that.

    Interestingly enough, I did go in for counseling at my church. I saw a pastor who specialized in pastoral care and I agreed to counseling. He made matters worse. At a time that I was feeling really hurt and abandoned, he told me “Matt, God is probably laughing at you and saying, ‘Geez, Matt, will you lighten up?'” That really hurt. Shortly afterwards, I never talked to him again. And I thought that if God was rolling his eyes and snickering at my pain and telling me that I need to “lighten up” when I was in so much anguish that I was willing to end it all, then I wanted nothing to do with God.

    Anyways, thanks for sharing Lindsay,

    Matthew

    • Matthew,

      It’s very unfortunate that your pastor gave you such bad advice and counsel. He was wrong. God never laughs at our pain. It’s all too common that pastors, who are fallible human beings, say the wrong thing at the wrong time. And, it’s all too common that pastors these days aren’t exactly the best at giving people valid reasons to believe and dealing with their very real concerns.

      However, while God doesn’t laugh at our pain, He doesn’t necessarily have an obligation to appear to us when we feel bad either. I know it can be difficult to feel that God is distant or non-responsive. There is real pain and hurt involved. But what I’ve found is that in such times, you can’t rely on emotions to be an accurate indicator. You have to remind yourself of what you know – that God loves you because He says He does and because He demonstrated that on the cross. If you don’t actually know that, if you’re just accepting that on blind faith, then you need to research the evidence that shows that the Bible is true. I’ll say it again – your emotion is NOT a valid indicator of God’s love. The truth is the truth, regardless of how you feel about it.

      Another thing that helps when you feel distant from God (He doesn’t move, so if you feel distant, you moved away) is to throw yourself into Christian service. It’s hard to feel glum and focused on your own hurts when you’re actively serving others. In fact, Christian joy rarely, if ever, comes from sitting around waiting for God to speak to you. It comes from doing His work and seeing the results of the life He has called you to live. Oftentimes, going ahead with what you know you should be doing helps you feel closer to God because you’re moving back to where you should be.

      As for my view of Christian life as emotionally distant, it isn’t. But it isn’t necesarily emotionally euphoric either. In fact, emotion plays a secondary role. It’s nice to feel close to God, and I do have emotions, but they aren’t the primary driving force in my relationship with God. My emotions can only tell me how closely I am doing what I am supposed to be doing. It does not tell me what the truth is about God and His love. And even then, emotion is not always an indicator of how well I’m doing.

      The thing is, plenty of people have suffered for doing the right thing. Plenty of people have felt that God was absent or distant when they were doing all the right things. Think of Job, or of David in some of his Psalms. Most people go through that time of emotional turmoil at some point. Sometimes we need to stop relying on the emotions to tell us how things are going and walk by faith, not by sight. Maybe that was what God was trying to teach you – only you decided if you couldn’t see Him or get the response you wanted, you wouldn’t serve Him at all. How very sad.

  27. Jonathan Burke says:

    I was very impressed with your comments “connecting them to real scholars with real logical arguments supported by real mainstream science and history”, and “We need to connect the Bible to the data in the real world”, which I shared on a discussion forum and an email list. I sent you an email about it, but I’m not sure if it was received.

  28. JJ says:

    WK,

    I haven’t read though all the commments, but I see one major problem with this post- why assume this young woman was ever a true Christian? Before we worry about teaching children all sorts of apologetics, why don’t we focus on exposing them to the gospel and praying that God work work in their lives to bring them to repentence and faith in Chirst.

    • Why does it have to be one or the other? Is there some rule I don’t know about that you can’t teach children the gospel and apologetics at the same time?

      And what is the gospel anyway? It’s the truth about God’s plan of salvation. Apologetics only supports that so that they KNOW it’s truth. We don’t just want children to have faith. We want them to have faith in what is true. Apologetics explains what that truth is that we should believe in and explains why it is true so that we can have rigorous and unshakable faith.

      • So, I guess the first problem is that she was clearly raised in a legalistic environment. That’s the first point. That doesn’t mean anything theologically because I’m sure that wouldn’t thing that doing all this stuff would save her, but clearly she wanted to serve God and the way she went about doing that was by being really legalistic, instead of by making her own plan to serve God.

        I think that the emphasis in Rachael’s upbringing was too much on Bible and theology, not enough on knowledge outside the Bible. If you read what she wrote, she mentions her skill memorizing Bible verses and theological terms. That’s not apologetics.

        This is from her article:

        One of my earliest memories is of my dad’s gigantic old Bible. Its pages were falling out, its margins were scrawled over with notes, and the leather cover was unraveled in places from being so worn out. 
Every night, after we stacked up the dishes after our family dinner, he would bring it down and read a passage. I always requested something from the Book of Revelation or Genesis, because that’s where most of the interesting stories happened. After he was done, he’d close the Bible with a big WHUMP and turn to me.
        “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.”



        And:

        [M]y dad was working at a tech job during the day and working in his office, writing and researching, at night. He developed a huge collection of books, with bookshelves that spanned the wall, full of Bibles and notebooks filled with theology.

        So it sounds to me like the emphasis in her education was on memorization of Bible and pat answers to theological questions. And that doesn’t work once you get to university. Nobody asks you questions like that in the university, they ask you how you know that God exists, and you are expected to reply without using the Bible, since no one there accepts the Bible. This woman lost her faith when she went to university, and the reason why is not because of lack of prayer or lack of Bible or lack of theology. She had plenty of that.

        In any case, Glenn Peoples found the real reason that she left the faith – she had a non-Christian boyfriend and she felt guilty when she had sex with him.

        Read:

        http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-apostasy-of-matt-slicks-daughter.html

        First, though, let me quote what he’s responding to from Matt Slick’s daughter, Rachael Slick:

        Quote:

        For a long time I couldn’t have sex with my boyfriend (of over a year by this point) without crippling guilt. I had anxiety that I was going to Hell. I felt like I was standing upon glass, and, though I knew it was safe, every time I glanced down I saw death.

        And here’s Glenn Peoples’ response:

        But over time – thanks to the deconversion, that changed. It’s telling that she chose to draw attention to this. Numerous times I have seen people turn away from the faith, not because they became aware of new intellectual reasons to reject it, but because the appeal of remaining in the faith became dulled by the drive to live a life that was not compatible with it (and that number includes “apologists” for atheism). You see something, you want it. But you have this belief that you shouldn’t do it. So, as is human nature, you rationalise. You re-create the world of truth around you and what you want. “Maybe this Christianity thing isn’t true after all…” What changed? The evidence? Nope. The arguments are as good as ever. Your will is what has changed. This is confirmed by the celebratory comment that “Freedom is my God now.” No doubt, and that is what you were pursuing. Christianity hindered you, so bye bye Christianity. As was shown in the study Losing my Religion, and as I commented in a recent podcast about why some reject Christianity, there is a correlation between having sex outside of marriage and giving up one’s religion (usually Christian, in the American context in which the study was carried out). Other factors that correlate with abandoning the faith include drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders and get this – lacking a higher education. But that’s another matter, and of course does not answer questions about the truth or otherwise of atheistic or religious claims. It also makes sense that the time when a young person leaves their parents’ home and out into an environment where a smorgasbord of choices are now available to them is the most likely time that they will walk away. The comments thread at the blog where this story is told is full of the usual and can be paraphrased thus: “Oh, you taught her to THINK? Big mistake Dad, of course she was going to walk away!” Not even close to the mark. It was not critical thinking that sunk this faith. It was desire, as it so often is. The intellectual reason offered is absolutely flimsy, and certainly not offered an intellectually respectable presentation.

        Bye bye Christianity. No amount of theology or apologetics can fix that problem.

        • Paul says:

          WK,

          Could you possibly be accepting Rachel Slick’s account of her upbringing too quickly? Personally I doubt she is giving a fair account. There are probably truthful elements but I suspect they are presented in a way that she feels justifies her decisions. Ultimately we have a breakdown in a parent/child relationship and none of us has sufficient data to ascertain the whys and the wherefores of that.

          Out of respect and sympathy for a grieving family I suggest we should be very slow to point out what we perceive are their failures.

          Paul

          • Yes, I shouldn’t be so critical of the parents. But I do want to caution people about two things about parenting. 1) Legalism, and 2) Forcing children to do things beyond what they can puzzle out for themselves.

  29. Joshua says:

    Some great suggestions here for parents and mentors. Thanks!

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