Friday, December 28, 2007

Student of Dembski Leaves the Fold

I broke free from Christian fundamentalism in April 2006. I was a third year student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. This seminary is considered by many to be the intellectual hub of evangelical seminaries. The president of the seminary, Dr. Albert Mohler, has been called "the leading intellectual voice for evangelicals in America." He has been a frequent guest on Larry King Live, debating controversial topics such as gay marriage, abortion, religious tolerance, etc. Dr. William Dembski also teaches at the seminary, who is widely considered the world's leading proponent of Intelligent Design. Dr. Dembski was my professor in the fall semester of 2005.

But with one year left to complete a Masters of Divinity in Theology, I could no longer ignore the questions that were piling up in my mind. My questions and doubts troubled me to the point that I simply could no longer preach and teach something that I wasn't sure if believed any longer. I had become a member of a Southern Baptist church almost a year earlier. I absolutely loved this church, and all three pastors were also students at the seminary. The pastor was a Ph.D student, so I really enjoyed his sermons because they were really "deep" theologically. So when I informed them of my decision to leave the faith, you can imagine their reaction! Shortly after hearing of my decision, they held a Wednesday night service to excommunicate me from the church and "deliver my soul over to satan for the destruction of my flesh and the eternal flames of hell." Here is the email correspondence that took place after I informed them of my decision to leave the faith.

Click Here to Read More.


Patrick said...

Deconversion stories have always interested me to no end. One thing that I've never heard of, though, is the actual Christian conversion of a person who is well-known, philosophically educated atheist. Antony Flew doesn't count; he's a deist at best.

Come to think of it, I can't think of any professors or scientists who have willfully chosen to exchange proven scientific theory for theological wishes due to an overwhelming lack of faith (no pun intended) in their work.

Are there any?

Dale Husband said...

What? You never heard of athiest turned Christian C. S. Lewis? And what about Francis Collins, who was an agnostic turned Christian?

AIGBusted said...

It's true that there are cases like Dale mentioned, but as far as I've observed, it tends to work the other way around, as in there are theists who become atheists. I think most people stick with what they're raised with, however.

Patrick said...

I'm suspect of both of them, honestly. I don't know anything about C.S. Lewis being an atheist prior to his apologetics, so as far as I'm concerned his atheism may be, as Richard Dawkins puts it, an attempt at establishing a sort of "street cred" amongst Christians and atheists alike. Then again, it may be genuine. I suppose that I'm looking for a more contemporary example using someone who's prior position on atheism has been documented by multiple independent sources -and not just gratuitously self-referenced.

Concerning Dr. Collin's, I don't find his conversion convincing for similar reasons. Do I believe that he is genuine in his conversion? Yes, but I feel that he more than likely had some type of theistic outlook prior to his full conversion to Christianity, so the conversion wasn't necessarily a giant leap in any one direction. He could have been an agnostic theist much in the same way one can be an agnostic atheist.

Pvblivs said...

Dale husband:

I have never heard of Francis Collins. As for Clive Lewis, could you find anything written by him as an atheist. I just cannot confirm that he was an atheist. I am reminded of Lee Stroebel's The Case for Christ. When he reports how he "used to be an atheist" he listed actions that seemed a little to eager to accept the bible as true.