On Rachel Slick (Or how to lose a Christianity that burdens you)

Rachel Slick, daughter of apologist Matt Slick, wrote on The Friendly Atheist about how she became an atheist.

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.


And that was how it happened. There wasn’t an argument for atheism. There wasn’t a comparison of which side was more reasonable. There was no research. There was just one question she didn’t have an answer to. I hope she  thought about for more than the three minutes it took her to have that conversation.

The Answer

From the cradle, her father had raised her in the tradition of knowledge and critical thinking. Someone should have asked – Rachel, what covenant are you under? The mosaic one? Did God appear to your ancestors in a cloud on Mount Sinai and make an agreement with them that they and their descendants would keep the laws listed in the book of Deuteronomy? Of course not. So how could you possibly be obligated to keep a covenant that wasn’t made with you?

Did you swear loyalty to Jesus and accept his sacrifice as atonement for your sins? Then you are obligated to keep his laws, n’est pas? She might as well have left Christianity because God killed people in the great flood. You don’t need a theology degree to get past both of those questions.

In her article, Rachel did not say why the above explanation was insufficient, nor did she detail her investigation of a question she admitted not knowing an answer to. She simply recalled that the answer she had heard before was not sufficient. So she gave up.

Do you want your religion? Is it even yours?

Like the rest of us who were born to Christian parents, Rachel inherited Christianity. She drank it in her mother’s milk, so to speak. From the time she was a toddler she was told things; about who God was, what the world was like and what she should and shouldn’t do. The bad thing about having someone else think for you (as we all must do as kids) is that the smallest wind will sink your ship. Her father tried to help her in that regard. He taught her theology so she would not be led astray by falsehoods. He taught her critical thinking so she could correctly deduce information from the knowledge she had. But you can only teach a child so much and then it’s up to them.

They need several things to survive;

Firstly and most importantly, they need to want the truth. Rachel wanted freedom. I know this because I have been there. When your whole world is crashing down because of one question you can’t answer, you don’t give up because one person couldn’t answer the question and you had never before heard a good answer. You Google it.  You buy books. You make the local library your home. You fight with everything you have because you don’t want to lose everything. You don’t turn over to a side that has no evidence for itself because you had no answer to a question on the side with the evidence.

To Rachel, Christianity was a stifling set of rules which she (like everyone else) couldn’t follow. She had been having sex with her boyfriend and feeling guilty about it. But then, she couldn’t tell why she was supposed to follow some rules and not others, so Christianity must be wrong. Bye bye Christianity and welcome guilt free sex. She wrote:

Someone once asked me if I would trade in my childhood for another, if I had the chance, and my answer was no, not for anything.
 My reason is that, without that childhood, I wouldn’t understand what freedom truly is — freedom from a life centered around obedience and submission, freedom to think anything, freedom from guilt and shame, freedom from the perpetual heavy obligation to keep every thought pure. Nothing I’ve ever encountered in my life has been so breathtakingly beautiful.

Freedom is my God now, and I love this one a thousand times more than I ever loved the last one.

Sending children out into the world with no knowledge of how to seek truth is surely damning, but sometimes, you teach them all you can and you lose them anyway. Rachel’s Christianity wasn’t her own. It was something she had been force fed. She held onto it because it was more comfortable than atheism, until atheism gave her the one thing she truly wanted – freedom.

In Conclusion: A word to the wise

If you throw away your religion one day because you ran into one question and didn’t feel like finding an answer, don’t expect me to feel sorry for you. Whenever I have a question, I work my butt off, reading as many books as I can, analyzing them, taking them apart, making the arguments for and against so that there isn’t even a dark corner of my mind where the tiniest doubt lies. And I make sure the arguments for the other side are stronger than the ones I already have. Because one great logical suicide is leaving the side with x evidence for the side with x-1 evidence.

Further Reading

How to exploit a family falling out for the sake of ideology – Glenn Peoples

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Tracy

I’m Tracy

6 thoughts on “On Rachel Slick (Or how to lose a Christianity that burdens you)”

  1. It’s nice to hear about this from the side of a young person. From a parent’s perspective, it’s a little terrifying.
    I do get the impression she never saw Christianity as more than a guide for thinking and a heavy pack of rules. Anyone who believes Jesus is all about “obedience” and “shame” and “purifying” ourselves inside and out by our own strength never understood the basics. She sure didn’t mention the loss of infinite love, companionship, gratitude, or freedom from guilt.
    Of course she wanted free from being a Pharisee, it’s the most exhausting job in the world!

  2. Love your insightful writing. You are very wise and seem to have an actual relationship with the most burden-lifting person in the Universe, Jesus Christ. I am sorry that so far Rachel Slick does not yet seem to know Jesus as the friend that sticks closer than a brother. As a Christian homeschooling mom, my heart grieves to hear how her parents seemed to have neglected to go beyond teaching the “rules” of Christianity to teaching love, Christ’s primary commandments to us and the reason why God sent Jesus to us. I also feel the Lord is warning me most of all, to spend my time guiding my children to a loving relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

  3. I wasn’t raised in the shadow of a fanatical apologist like her dad, but I was raised in an evangelical home, and I can empathize with the emotional struggles she went through. If her experience was anything like mine, it wasn’t simply “I can’t answer this one point, therefore I’ll throw it all out.” It’s never that simple, and it’s never that selfish. Rather, the irreconcilable thing you see in your faith becomes the spark that burns the whole house down. It’s a slow, painful process. When you are brought up to believe in god and hell and sin, you cling to those things dearly. As she said in the article, letting go of god is SCARY. It’s a struggle. You really WANT to believe. But for people like Rachael (and myself), once you’ve given yourself permission to question things, and to look at your faith with the same standards you apply to everything else in your life, it’s only a matter of time before your belief in god unravels.
    I guarantee this isn’t about guilt-free sex, so much as integrity and honesty about the world as she saw it. She looked around her, and noticed one day that god didn’t exist, despite everything she was told as a kid. Getting to live the life you want (including guilt-free sex), is just a happy side effect of going through that process.

    1. I know what you mean. I’ve been there. Sooner or later we have to go from believing what we’re told to finding the truth for ourselves. It feels like your whole life makes no sense suddenly. But not everyone’s case is like that. Some people do find Christianity restrictive and want out. My problem with Rachel (and a lot of others) is that they act like no one else has noticed these questions. I have questions too. That’s why I write this blog.

      The questions are painful, but there’s no need to stop fighting. You want the truth, not just relief. Thank you for looking for that.

  4. I’m the same age as she is and it’s sad to hear that she isn’t a Christian anymore. I also went through this phase (questioning my faith) but after research and listening to both sides (Atheist and Christian) I realized that Christianity just MAKES SENSE! God is truth! He has infinite knowledge that we could never comprehend. I love this verse “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding”. I feel like Rachael wanted to justify to herself to why she believed God existed by researching but I feel like she did it in the wrong places and when she couldn’t find the answers she simply decided that God doesn’t exists. I also think she believed in God because she was afraid to go to Hell because that’s what she said she was trying to convert Cody. I think this her reasons to belief needs to be stronger. I don’t believe in God because I’m afraid to go to hell. I believe in God because he is truth, he is love, he saved us from sin “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son”, he has never given up on us or humanity. We all live in a fallen world and we are consumed in sin but though God he give our souls hope for a better place without sin, when we die we will live in a place of love and peace for all eternity. I can’t wait but I will live on this fallen world to show God how much I love him, how much faith I have in him and I will do everything in my power to evangelize and serve him. I hope Rachael will come to the light and see truth, I feel like she has gotten the wrong picture of Christianity. It’s not a hardcore doctrine with strict rules. It’s about having a relationship with God and truly believing that Jesus died on the cross to save us from sin. Some people do a lot more like evangelize, become a pastor and living for God for all their lives which is amazing. God bless you all and please keep believing in the all knowledgeable,loving,kind and patient God! Jesus will come in the near future to this fallen world to save us! Be on the side of truth.

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