I received this comment from David in the (very long) thread under my article Why I Quit Christianity.
Hi Richard, my honest and completely unsolicited opinion: I think you got burned out! The Bible Wheel patterns are unmistakable and can’t possibly be explained by cognitive bias if others independently notice them, but you may never again be in a headspace where you can accept the most clear explanation. You ever see when rock bands are interviewed about their last hit album and they always look like they want to punch the interviewer in the face because they’d rather talk about their new material? You were doing this for over a decade.
Thanks for taking time to share your insights. But just so you know, I actually did “solicit your opinion” by writing my article on my blog and enabling comments. I’m glad you took me up on my offer.
It is true that I worked intensely on the Bible Wheel research, website, and book for over a decade, and I suppose that would take a toll on any man, but I can’t say that I ever felt “burned out” about it. The Bible Wheel was always a fresh and invigorating study, and it remains intriguing to me now even though I completely reject the concept of a theistic style God. I debate Christians regularly on my forum, and constantly notice the same kind of powerfully meaningful connections that convinced me that the Bible was “God’s Word” what I was a Christian. The only difference now is that I don’t see Yahweh as a viable explanation of anything, let alone “the most clear explanation”. From my present perspective, the God of the Bible is a philosophical, moral, and scientific impossibility.
Also, having Christian beliefs is inherently stressful even if we don’t make them public. The bible makes it pretty clear that God doesn’t really like us and that we don’t really like him. It doesn’t matter if he occasionally loves us. If he flies off the handle on occasion and abuses us, but then turns around and lavishes us with generosity, this is too unstable to work around. If we feel obligated to witness, it creates resentment.
I love your honesty, and I must agree; the biblegod does not much like his creation, and I can’t imagine why any human would much like him. He is capricious, irrational, demanding, vengeful, and worst of all – utterly untrustworthy. So untrustworthy, in fact, that it’s as if he didn’t even exist! The idea that “God is trustworthy” is the most explicit and incontrovertible proof that Christianity is fundamentally delusional. If God were half as trustworthy as the average dentist there would be no debate about his existence.
None of this has anything to do with the truth of his existence though. I don’t think your points above about doctrine of hell or abominations really have much logically to do with belief. I don’t disbelieve the existence of a lion because he mauls a gazelle. I just keep my distance from the lion. Even if you say it contradicts God’s own statements about himself, this doesn’t have much logically to do with belief. People don’t become nonexistent if they self promote.
I guess I’m saying I think you are somewhat confusing what you want to be true with what you suspect to be true deep down.
I don’t see how you can separate “belief in God” from the moral abominations attributed to him. There is no doubt about the existence of the lion. The same cannot be said of the biblegod. And more importantly, many of the claims the Bible makes about God are demonstrably false, such as the idea that he created heaven and earth and Adam and Eve, or that there was a global flood. Couple this with the primitive irrationality and immorality attributed to him, and again we see that he is not a viable explanation of anything, whether it be creation or the Bible Wheel.
What do you think I “want” to be true? I remember once years ago, around 1993 in the Blue Moon Tavern in Seattle, when I was just getting turned on to Christ and the Bible. I was a “stealth evangelist” hanging out with my old drinking buddies, trying to “turn them on” to the beauty I saw in Christ and the Bible. So we were chatting one day, and I led the conversation to things we would “want” to be true, and opened my Bible and read this:
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
I read that, caught my friend’s eye, and said “I’m not asking you to believe this, but wouldn’t you want it to be true?” He nodded. Then we clinked our glasses and took a hit of beer. All this to say that I am very familiar with the difference between what I want to be true and what is actually true, and I don’t think that is what’s going on with me. I wanted it to be true, and I had the Bible Wheel to prove it! No one has ever successfully shown any systematic error or fundamental flaw in the Bible Wheel. I cannot refute it myself. But neither can I believe in the God of the Bible. So I am mystified.
The quality of your life has improved. You’ve relaxed and you’re healthy. I’d take this over going nuts like Jeremiah or Ezekiel. How many of us visiting your site and posting with you actually cared about your well being? Seriously, what’s more important – proving the truth of existence in a heated internet debate or walking through the woods with your wife? I tried showing some of the Bible Wheel patterns to believers before, and I abruptly stopped when I didn’t get a reaction anything like what I expected. It’s not worth it – it’s too much. You either have the eyes and ears or you don’t.
Reading your comments reminds me how I was “burned out” to a degree without really knowing it. Burned out from the endless abuse (mindless moronic mockery) I received from almost all Christians I ever encountered online. But now I understand why. Christianity, like all dogmatic religions, is a mind-killer. It tends to corrupt the minds and morals of believers. It breeds a contempt for the truth. It was folly to expect evidence would mean anything to such people.
If you revisit the Bible Wheel material someday, my honest advice is: Don’t cast your pearls before swine. Don’t feel the need to carry water for God. Screw the Christian community – too many scribes and Pharisees. Don’t feel the need to ignore science or hippie lifestyle or whatever else. It’s not about a grand system of beliefs, it’s about taking care of yourself. You’re only human. Best wishes.
Nice advice! Thanks. That’s half the problem I am sure – I forgot who I was because the only people who responded to my work were fundamentalists, and I (unfortunately) am prone to a certain kind of “fundamentalist” thinking (black and white certainty). That’s why I enjoy mathematics I suppose. Every vice has a corresponding virtue, ya know? In any case, I take your advice to heart, and am happily enjoying coming backing to my senses, grounded in who I am. The Bible Wheel remains …. a mystery! And I’m good with that.
I’m really glad you took time to share your thoughts David,
All the best,