Deconversion stories from The Skeptical Review

Harry Ricker, Jr.

I'm writing to request the Gleason Archer letter and the entire paper by Dr. Robert Countess that was referred to in the Winter 1992 issue p. 4....

Thank you for TSR. It has helped me to confirm my departure from born- again Bible believer to freethinker. My journey started when I had general questions on the four gospel accounts of the resurrection of the NT Jesus and the so-called "Messianic prophecies" being fulfilled in the NT Jesus. I put off the studies, looked a little here and there, put if off mostly, but the questions kept returning, so I finally decided to really dig in. My former pastor said that when I studied the issues I had questions about, I should go only to the text of the Bible and if I went outside the Bible, I should read only inerrancy defenses. On my first study, I expanded it to the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension accounts of the NT Jesus. I didn't use gospel parallels and other sources that were like them, only the biblical text. I had many more problems after this than before I began. When I read the inerrancy defenses, they really didn't give me solid, intellectually honest answers. I read Josh McDowell on the issue of Jesus's resurrection, defenses by Gleason Archer, Norman Geisler, and others. When I read the other side, it made more sense. (I didn't read a lot on this side.) Then I tackled the "Messianic prophecies." I went to the Jewish scriptures, OT passages that Christians use, and then to the Christian NT passages where they are supposed to be fulfillments. I saw more problems and things that just didn't add up. I went to inerrantist Christian defenses of the position, like Norman Geisler and others, and to those sources on "the other side," many or most being Jewish views of the "Messianic prophecies" and the whole issue of the Messiah doctrine. The Christian side just did not have answers that proved the NT dealt honestly with the passages (rationalizing notwithstanding). My two studies surely didn't show me overwhelming, harmonious, it-could- only-have-been-God evidence for the Bible's supposedly divine origin. There is real evidence against Christian Bible belief that the Christians need to face up to. McDowell, Archer, and the others have not done this. The "verdict," I believe, is that the Bible simply doesn't stand.

This decision hasn't come to me without searching, hoping to find answers, much studying, and crying in church. Thanks for TSR and the debate videos. Keep up the good fight of reason.

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