We sometimes hear about “de-conversion” stories where someone who grew up being taught about Christ, or who had become a Christian, rejects God to become an atheist. There are a number of reasons this may happen. They all have a story. Some argue that they have now seen the light of science and are no longer going to allow themselves to brainwashed. Typically, all they have done is traded authorities. How many have actually seen firsthand all the evidence that they have been told about or read in some textbook? While they rail against what they’ve been “told” while growing up, they now accept, almost blindly, what someone else tells them. And they fail to see the irony of it all. They haven’t changed how they receive what they are taught (read it, hear it), but they have changed what sources they think are important.
Why do they de-convert? Some cite their inability to have an answer for something specific they have been asked. Unable to answer, and thinking there is no answer, they give up. Sadly, giving up in apologetics shows a shallowness that is not very flattering to those who think of themselves as intellectuals. Apologetics has both a breadth and depth that goes well beyond any cursory attempts to provide one-liner type answers. Hard work is necessary, and every ounce of work is worthwhile.
“Easy for you to say.” Not at all. I could, if I wanted, recount the troubles of my youth. I could tell you of my own faith that wavered and teetered in ways I am not proud of — my “faith” that failed so early on. I could tell the heartbreaking story of my brother who tossed his faith aside for many years, and the terribly difficult questions broached during those years. This drove me into apologetics. I could tell stories of my anger at God. I’ve had reasons to give up. I’ve had reasons to disbelieve. But at the end of the day, though my faith was not easy, none of those reasons were valid.
If you have doubts, I plead with you not to use them to turn from God. Do not use them to justify wrong-doing. Use them to seek, search, knock, and ask. Use them to make your faith your own.