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