What Alternative Do “Apostates” Have After Leaving Christianity?
In his blog entry, Hays' remarks are instructive in that they expose how a mind marinated in religious doublethink tries to gerrymander a selected handful of data sets in favor of a confessional investment. In his blog entry, Hays quotes from and reacts to a post by Christian apologist Mike Licona.
Hays quotes Licona, who writes:
I’ve doubted the truth of my Christian faith many times; sometimes to the point of almost walking away from it.
Professing Christians who feel this way need to stop and ask themselves, where would they be going? Walk away…for what?
Generally, there are two ways to address the question of what a former believer might (or should) accept as a worldview in place of Christianity. The first way is to use reason as his guide. The other way is to abandon reason and exchange one form of irrationality for another. Of course, if Christianity is one’s starting point, he has already abandoned reason and thus needs to rediscover it, just as the West did during the Renaissance. But given these two alternatives, which one does Hays recommend? Let’s examine his reaction to the problem.
Imagine if you accidentally slide down a cliff. On the way down you grab hold of a shrub on the face of the cliff. You have two options. You can either try to climb back up, or you can let go.
Notice how the scenario which Hays wants his readers to imagine involves sliding down - particularly in a sudden, violent fashion. Hays assumes that leaving Christianity necessarily involves a downward fall of sorts, as if becoming a Christian involved some kind of arduous climb involving effort that brings one to some unprecedented vista over everything else. He does not attempt to justify the assumption that walking away from Christianity results in some kind of “fall,” yet in his defense I suspect he would not think a justification is needed since he pretty much just preaches to the choir.
But on closer inspection, even the Christian worldview does not characterize either conversion or Christian virtue as a result of personal effort that one would be throwing away by walking away. Getting “saved” according to Christianity is not the result of some productive effort one puts into something; it’s supposed to be a “free gift” that is bestowed upon the believer by the Christian god’s own initiation, apart from anything a person does or has done. That’s the whole notion of “grace” as Christianity imagines it. Specifically, Christian salvation cannot be earned. On the contrary, it is an unearned “gift” that one must accept at the expense of someone else – namely, at the expense of someone who gave up his life so that the believer can enjoy the fruits that are supposedly gained by giving up an ideal life.
Moreover, Christianity is a religion. Just as a grass hut is a primitive form of architecture, a religion is a primitive form of philosophy. Primitive in this sense means pre-rational and pre-scientific. And indeed, there is nothing either rational or scientific about Christianity. Rationality is uncompromising allegiance to reason as one’s only source of knowledge, his only standard of judgment and his only guide to action. Christianity condemns this primary engine of “the wisdom of the world” for the “autonomy” it gives to its users. People who develop and rely on their own reasoning skills don’t need a faith-based worldview telling them simply to “believe” what it insists as truths but cannot demonstrate as truths. Reason does not teach a man to fear imaginary things, like supernatural spirits which can allegedly wreak havoc on a man’s life and soul through an inscrutable system of rewards and punishments. Reason teaches a man to think for himself, to go by the facts that he comes in contact with firsthand, to discriminate which inputs he will accept and trust.
Science is the systematic application of reason to some specific area of study (no, you won't learn what science is by reading the bible). Epistemology, for example, is the scientific study of the nature of knowledge and the process by which an individual acquires and validates his knowledge. But there’s no scientific study of knowledge found anywhere in the bible. For example, one can comb the contents of the bible from Genesis through Revelation and nowhere find any informed discussion of the nature of concepts, the unit of knowledge. In the stories of biblical heroes, to be sure, there’s a lot of “just knowing” going on, a lot of mystical transmissions from supernatural spirits, a lot of “believe it because it is written” kind of shtick, even "revelations" distributed by means of dreams! But we don’t find any mature, thoughtful and penetrating discussion of method, of logic, of deduction, of induction, of testing samples, etc.; its authors don’t even seem to have any awareness of what a fallacy is. It seems that any worldview which attempts to address any of these matters would be a huge step up from Christianity!
We can see throughout history how the embrace of reason results not only in the withdrawal of faith, but also in the lifting of civilization as a whole and the improvement of individual well-being to unprecedented levels. The Renaissance signaled a re-discovery of reason, and this prompted the slow, difficult climb out of the brackish waters of the Dark Ages. Western civilization began to distinguish itself in an unparalleled fashion against the rest of the world given the posthumous influence of Aristotle, and, for the most part, religion has been in retreat ever since. For example, we no longer have rulers in the West who claim authority by the divine right of kings. To the degree that western civilization adopted reason as its guide, individuals began to enjoy freedom and privacy in ways never realized before in history. The culmination of this was called the Age of Reason, an era that gave us the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the idea that each individual has the right to his own life, his own liberty and the pursuit of his own happiness. These are not Christian ideals. Far from it! Such ideals are explicitly selfish in nature, and Christianity, like other primitive philosophies, would have the individual renounce his own liberty and happiness (“Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” – Mk. 8:34) and be willing to surrender his values on command (as Abraham is modeled to have done, and as the Christian god did actually do, according to the gospel myth).
So the very starting point of the scenario which Hays wants his readers to concoct in their imaginations is already way out of tune with Christianity.
Hays continues illustrating his imaginative scenario:
But what does the second option amount to? What does letting go mean? Letting go for what? If you let go of the branch, what awaits you? You will fall to your death. Splat!
It is really what Jesus said: die and give your life to Him. Die.
No, I’m not making this up.
Luke 14:33 puts the following words into Jesus’ mouth:
…those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.
It’s about what we must be prepared to do to follow Jesus. It’s about giving up everything, even our very lives for Him.
If I’m acting to preserve myself from actions which will result in my own destruction, such as avoiding a fall that results in “Splat!”, I’m acting in my own self-interest, regardless of who disapproves or believes otherwise, and I need a worldview which consistently supports in practice and in principle my choice to act in such a self-preserving manner. A worldview which teaches that I am depraved from birth (or before birth), that I am inherently “sinful,” that I am riddled with guilt from head to toe, that I have some “duty” or “obligation” to sacrifice myself, my loved ones, my values, my very life, is not a worldview that can at the same time consistently and in practice and in principle support the choices I make to act in the interest of my own self-preservation and the preservation of my values. It’s simple as that. Objectivism is not a worldview that needs to enlist the vice of “doublethink” in order to rationalize self-preserving choices and actions against the backdrop of teachings that one “give up everything” he has and “die to self.”
Hays asks, rhetorically:
Before you leave Christianity behind, ask what you're leaving it for.
Moreover, after giving so much priority to what I had been imagining, how could I turn my back on that and return to the real world and face it in a mature, adult manner? Yes, that was tough. At first anyway. I admit, this was no easy task. But given the fact that I had made a conscious choice to be honest to myself, I realized that the choice I faced was between what was real and what was merely imaginary. After adhering to a worldview which systematically blurs reality with what’s merely imaginary, recognizing that reality does not conform to my imagination brought its share of challenges. I knew implicitly that what was merely imaginary was not real. I also knew that Christianity required me to ignore this implicit knowledge by emphatically treating what I imagined as though it were real, by deliberately blurring the distinction between the real and the imaginary, by inculcating a terrifying dread of the things I was taught by Christianity to imagine – much like a young Cornelius Van Til when he tried to sleep in the hay-barn one night. Indeed, where in the bible does any author give rational guidance on distinguishing between the two? Nowhere does it do this. To do so would be entirely counter-productive to its overall religious agenda. It would give away the game.
Another point that worked against Christianity’s favor was the fact that I knew that I needed a guide that I could understand. All that Christianity offered me was a guide which insisted that I “lean not” on my own understanding (cf. Prov. 3:5), to “let go and let God,” as the pastor and his deacons would continually implore, and to constantly assume that if there was some kind of problem in my life, it was always because I was doing something against “God’s will,” which was forever beyond the reach of my understanding. Since I was “born into sin” and “innately depraved,” my very existence was “against God’s will.” If I’m supposed to “die,” so long as I’m alive I’m doing something wrong simply by living. Exploring the meandering, circuitous path of “whys” which were offered to “explain” all this simply lead to a multiplicity of cognitive dead-ends. In sum, Christianity required me to choose and act regardless of whether or not I understood the whats and the whys of what was expected of me. Consequently, even if I did not understand why X was the right course of action (as it was purported by Christianity to be – such as sacrificing anything I enjoyed in life), I was expected by Christianity to obey anyway and to consider such obedience as somehow virtuous. Obedience, not understanding, was what Christianity requires of its adherents. And I was supposed to imagine that such obedience somehow pleased the Jesus I concocted in my imagination. But contrary to this requirement of Christianity, I wanted to understand why I was doing what I was doing. Against this, Christianity required me to adopt the mindset which makes choices and actions apart from understanding.
But as Hays himself puts it in another blog entry (see here):
an imagined Jesus is just an imaginary Jesus.
The recognition, albeit merely implicit, that one does not believe something because it is essentially imaginary, is a momentous step in the right direction – i.e., in the direction of a reality-affirming worldview. But this recognition by itself is not enough; it does not spell out the distinction between the imaginary and the real in an explicit manner, and it does not teach a thinker how to distinguish between himself as a subject of consciousness and everything he is aware of as objects of his awareness in an explicit, formal and principled manner. Also, knowing implicitly that the imaginary is not real is not enough to dispel the emotional impact that can result from ignoring this distinction.
This is one of the most basic reasons why any thinker needs rational philosophy: to teach him to distinguish between fact and fantasy consistently. If one cannot distinguish between fact and fantasy, he will have no way to distinguish between truth and non-truth. Since truth is conceptual correspondence to facts, one must at minimum be able to distinguish between facts and non-facts in order to discover and validate truth. But Christianity does not teach such skills to its believers; the bible nowhere provides believers with the necessary rational tools by which they can distinguish between that which is real and that which is merely imaginary. Indeed, if believers have no alternative but to imagine the god which Christianity demands they worship, then rational principles by which believers can reliably distinguish between what is real and what they are merely imagining is the last thing that such a worldview, given its confessional investment in the imaginary, will ever offer to its adherents.
So right off the bat we can confidently say that one alternative to Christianity is a worldview which teaches thinkers to distinguish consistently between reality and imagination, between fact and fantasy, between truth and non-truth. A person who makes the decision to be honest to himself and about the world he lives in, should be overjoyed to leave Christianity and embrace such a liberating worldview. But I don’t think an individual can do this unless he makes the choice to be honest to himself and about the world around him.
What lies ahead? Atheism? How's that any different than a free fall to the rocky ground below?
Again we see the characterization of departing from Christianity as resulting in some kind of “fall” to something lower than Christianity. One can only fall from something that is above something else. What hill does one climb to become a Christian? But as we saw, even according to Christianity’s own teachings, an individual does not become a Christian by his own choosing, his own effort, his own choices, his own merits; being a Christian is not something one earns according to Christian teaching. On the contrary, according to Christianity, the believer was chosen by an all-powerful being whose will is irresistible. And, as we also saw, self-denial is a precondition to Christian discipleship. It is Christianity that requires individuals to sacrifice their values and surrender their lives. If a person is a Christian, the loss has already taken place. There is nothing lower to “fall” to – he’s already at the bottom. Renouncing such childish fantasies as Christian god-belief can only open the doors which must be opened for climbing out of the pit to be possible.
From the perspective of a rational worldview, it’s hard to see how one can descend further than adopting a form of mysticism, of which Christianity is the most philosophically developed. But then again, from the perspective of rational philosophy, departing from rationality can only lead downward in the first place, whether it is in exchange for a religious worldview or a secular variant of the same (such as dialectical materialism or logical positivism). Apologists like Hays will never be able to explain how choosing not to believe in imaginary beings will necessarily result in some kind of loss of values. But that’s how Hays is characterizing “apostasy.” Maybe he needs to try it out for himself and discover just how brainwashed he’s been all these years.
If you're consistent, you will keep falling until you hit the hard surface of nihilism. That's where apostasy logically bottoms out. What breaks your fall breaks you.
But if one’s departure from Christianity is prompted by things like a choice to be honest to oneself, the recognition that god-belief ensconces the mind in the imaginary, the realization, however reluctant, that one simply does not believe what he’s been urged to believe, that what he’s been urged to believe is in fact nothing remotely true, how can such a departure qualify as a “fall” of any sort? According to rational philosophy, the choice to be honest is to be commended. So is the acceptance of the fact that the imaginary is not real. It’s true that there may be bad reasons for rejecting religious brainwashing, but there’s a world full of good reasons to do so. Far from considering any of these, Hays carries on as though it were a foregone conclusion that good reasons do not exist for leaving Christianity. Which means: on the Christian worldview, the recognition that reality and imagination are fundamentally distinct, the choice to be honest, the admission that one does not believe something that is not true, etc., are not good for anything, that acting on such reasons can only result in some kind of downward spiral leading to self-destruction.
Of course, given Christianity’s endorsement of self-sacrifice, why suppose that self-destruction is an undesirable end for oneself? After all, according to the gospel myth, Jesus came to earth expressly to sacrifice himself – as an ideal, sin-free man sacrificing himself for the sake of non-ideal people who are expected to accept that sacrifice as somehow virtuous – and believers are urged to follow Jesus’ example for their lives, wherever such devotion might lead them in their lives.
But let’s examine Hays’ thesis here a little more closely. On his view, nihilism is the only logical alternative to Christianity. Apparently supposing that it would help make his point, Hays offered a couple definitions for his readers to feast on (from this source). Let’s look at the first one:
Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless…It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy.
But if, properly understood, "atheism" is in actuality nothing more than simply an individual’s lack of acceptance of theism, then there is no basis for the alleged inherent kinship between atheism and nihilism. Not believing in a god in no way impels an individual to “the belief that all values are baseless.” Speaking from my own experience, it was when I became a Christian that I found that I needed to sacrifice all my values in the first place, even though their basis was rooted in my nature as a biological organism. It was Christianity that drove a massive psychological wedge between me and everything I valued. Luke 14:26 makes this crystal clear:
If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.
So how is the believer supposed to maintain optimism under such circumstances? He is to hate his family members, his own wife and child, his parents, even himself; he is to sacrifice his values, praise those who were willing to do the same – cf. Abraham and Isaac, and worship a god that sacrificed its own child; he is to “give up everything” and “die” for no reason other than that something he imagines requires this of him. His life is not his own; he’s an eternal slave who has no right to anything – certainly no right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – those are out of the question. What cause for optimism do slaves sitting on death row have? Of course, believers might say that they’re hoping for an eternal life in some imaginary place they call heaven. But this too is merely imaginary. And just as “an imagined Jesus is just an imaginary Jesus,” so too is an imagined heaven just an imaginary heaven. Indeed, what alternative to imagination does the believer have in all this? Blank out.
And which worldview “condemns existence”? Certainly not Objectivism! Objectivists relish existence, especially their own, and we work to enjoy every moment of it. “Serenity comes from the ability to say ‘Yes!’ to existence” (Ayn Rand, “The Metaphysical Versus the Man-Made,” Philosophy: Who Needs It, p. 27). But how can one enjoy existence if he is to deny himself, sacrifice his values and “die”? According to Christianity, man is condemned from the womb forward. His very existence is condemned as a systematic requirement of the Christian devotional formula. “You can’t sell salvation unless you sell damnation,” goes the old Danny Barker favorite. And Christianity is all about selling damnation. According to the bible, we were “created in God’s image,” but damned right out of the shrink wrap.
And which worldview promotes “radical skepticism”? Again, certainly not Objectivism! Objectivism recognizes the power of man’s mind, of his ideas, of his ability to use reason to discover and identify facts, to integrate what he discovers and put his ideas into practical form. Indeed, Objectivism celebrates this ability of man – an ability which other worldviews seem to take completely for granted and condemn at the same time. There are few defenders of man’s mind out there today, and we’re living through the consequences of this now as the world crumbles into decay, stagnation and conflict. But a worldview which treats man’s mind not as merely impotent, but as inherently depraved right out of the shrink wrap, robs its adherents of any chance for overcoming the inevitable skepticism to which such a worldview can only lead. And we see stark evidence of this as a matter of routine in the presuppositional method of apologetics which continually treats the human mind as if it could not know anything. The clanging “How do you know?” which Christianity cannot answer, is ultimately the only tool in their toolbox since in the end they’ve already accepted the premise that the human mind is a barren wasteland from which no good can come. That’s Christianity which teaches this. Not Objectivism. It is precisely because the human mind is thought to be so soiled and stained that it needs to be “renewed” and “born again.” Radical skepticism is Christianity’s epistemological starting point, which is why we should never be surprised to see its darkened influence reverberating throughout its apologetic contrivances.
The definition of ‘nihilism’ which Hays cited states that “A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy.” But the imaginary is nothing, and that’s what Christians believe in: imaginary things. If the Christian god is merely something believers imagine, then it is nothing, and the claim to believe in it is a confession to believing in nothing. And just as “an imagined Jesus is just an imaginary Jesus,” so too is an imagined god just an imaginary god. What Christian does not imagine the god he worships? And where do his loyalties lie? We already saw that he is to hate his parents, his wife and children, even himself. If he can’t even be loyal to himself, then he’s completely up for grabs to whatever nihilistic force gets him first. And if all one’s hopes are ultimately bound in what is imagined to lie beyond the grave, what ultimate purpose could he possibly have, if he’s consistent with such hopes, other than self-destruction? Again, blank out.
So far, the definition of ‘nihilism’ which Hays has cited seems to have Christianity pegged through and through.
How about the next definition that he gave? Let’s check it out:
Ethical nihilism or moral nihilism rejects the possibility of absolute moral or ethical values. Instead, good and evil are nebulous, and values addressing such are the product of nothing more than social and emotive pressures. Existential nihilism is the notion that life has no intrinsic meaning or value…“the highest values devalue themselves. The aim is lacking, and ‘Why’ finds no answer.”
Moreover, moral values, according to Objectivism, are not “the product of nothing more than social and emotive pressures.” Far from it! Since values are those things which man needs in order to live, their nature qua values is determined by facts relevant to man’s nature as a living biological organism. This of course includes food, water, shelter, clothing, skills, education, happiness, romantic relationships, art, etc. No matter what some social group or emotion might suggest, man needs values because his life depends on them. Neither the preferences of a social group or some emotional mood swing will be able to alter the nature of man’s needs, the values he needs to obtain in order to meet those needs, or his need for values as such. Indeed, properly understood, moral values are the product of rational effort, meaning: man governing his mind by reason in the task of living his life. Values, then, must be earned. Contrast this with Christianity: the believer’s greatest “value” (i.e., “salvation,” which the believer can only imagine he has) is only available if someone else (i.e., Jesus) sacrifices himself. The Christian soteriological formula requires of its adherents the kind of character which seeks and accepts the unearned and collects on the sacrifices of others. This is all ultimately due to the fact that Christianity prefers a substitute to facts as its basis for what it calls “the good.”
A worldview which prefers to fantasize alternatives to the facts that we face in our lives, will not equip its followers to deal with reality on its own absolute terms. A worldview which seats its moral teachings on something other than facts relevant to man’s life, can only fail to give its followers the cognitive tools necessary to discover what is a value and what is not a value to his life, and to understand why he needs morality in the first place. I’ve already pointed out The Moral Uselessness of the 10 Commandments. A rational code of morality is one which can be discovered and validated by means of reason. But reason does not couch its principles on what is merely imaginary. Rather, reason goes by facts and is only possible in the context of a worldview which consistently and securely distinguishes between reality and imagination, fact and fantasy, truth and untruth.
Indeed, what could be more “nebulous” than notions which have no objective tie to reality? Notions that are ultimately anchored in the imaginary have no objective tie to reality. Notice the striking degree of disagreement among Christians on various ethical issues, such as celibacy among the clergy, infant baptism, homosexuality, wealth accumulation, acceptance of the findings of science, "white supremacy," etc. Individual Christians imagine their god differently, and the god they enshrine in their imaginations will naturally reflect certain aspects of the believer’s own character. They create their god after their own image. Indeed, what does Christianity mean by “good” and “evil” anyway? And what value can Christianity’s definitions of good and evil (whatever they may be) have if in the end, believers will say that their god “has a morally sufficient reason for the evil which exists” (Greg Bahnsen, Always Ready, p. 172)? Clearly the Christian god is not absolutely opposed to evil if it allows evil or “has a morally sufficient reason” for allowing evil. If a man goes and kills another person, this is “evil,” but if the Christian god does it, it is “good.” Plus, if the Christian god causes a man to go and kill another person, the Christian god’s actions are “good,” but the actions of the man who does the killing are “evil.” According to Christianity, would it ever be “good” for a father to stand idly by and allow his child to be tortured and executed? Well, when the Christian god did this, it is considered one of the best things since sliced bread (or before even!). Nebulous indeed!
But Christianity ensures that the fleeting nebulousness of its moral notions can never be overcome, for, as the late John W. Robbins, a spokesman for Christianity, put it:
The distinction between right and wrong depends entirely upon the commands of God. There is no natural law that makes some actions right and others wrong… Were there no law of God, there would be no right or wrong. (An Introduction to Gordon H. Clark)
Many apostates begin with dutiful idealism, which they derive from their Christian upbringing. Dutiful idealism about truth and goodness. A duty to follow the evidence wherever it leads. They view themselves as honest, virtuous, disinterested truth-seekers.
The biblical worldview deliberately keeps the human mind epistemologically darkened, stranding it on the barren island of faith, i.e., hope in the imaginary, cutting it off from the world of reason, and shackling it to ancient Dead Sea folklore. Is this the high standard of rightness from which Hays fears “apostates” will fall if they depart from Christianity? Van Til taught that “all teaching of scripture is apparently contradictory.” So for the Christian up is really down, and down is really up. Thus if apologists campaigning for Christianity claim that believers will fall downward if they walk away from Christianity, perhaps it is the very opposite that they fear: that those who walk away will discover truths that apologists would prefer they never discover at all and break free from Christianity’s slave mentality. After all, if believers find that they go into a self-destructive free fall if they leave Christianity, what would prevent them from coming back? Wouldn’t they turn around and head back for safety? Doesn’t the Christian god look out for its own? Won’t the Christian god take them back? Isn’t this supposed to be a loving god – the very god that turned its back on its own son when he was being tortured and readied for execution? With love like that, who would want to walk away? Perhaps these questions answer themselves.
Hays continues his caricature:
In their view, this led them out of Christianity. Yet by leaving that behind, they implicitly turn their back on the very basis for duty that spurred them on that ill-fated journey in the first place. Their destination contradicts their starting-point. Their sense of duty makes no sense. Transplanted from Christianity to atheism, duty dies on the dry, barren soil.
But is it true that my “destination contradicts [my] starting-point”? If by “starting-point” here we mean the initial impetus that gave me the courage to leave Christianity once and for all, then the answer is a resounding no. It was my choice to be honest that opened the door to my individual liberty, and my destination – a life guided by reason – is the logical outcome of following such a choice consistently. If one gets out of burning car, he doesn’t struggle to get back into it. And that’s what I did: I climbed out of the wreckage by my own effort using my own wits, and the freedom I’ve enjoyed since then is a freedom that I earned. And it is precisely this – this individual declaration of independence that I make daily – that Christians resent so deeply. I don’t have the burden of spending my psychic energy slavishly trying to appease an imaginary deity, and believers resent me expressly for having earned just such a liberty. They heap their venom and spite on me, call me names and threaten me with eternal torment, all the time wishing they could make good on those threats. They want me to die just as they have died. It is the fact that I am alive that they hate most of all.
Hays quoted Licona:
I’ve asked myself, “Have I been brain-washed? Am I unable to think objectively because I was brought up to believe?”
Hays reacts to Licona’s words here with the following questions:
What if that's exactly how God saves many people? By raising them in Christian families? By raising them in Christian churches?
Hays goes on:
It can be good to ask, am I Lutheran (or Baptist or Presbyterian) because that's how I was raised. But those are intramural Christian questions.
Yes, I’m glad these aren’t my problems!
Again, Hays quotes Licona, who asks:
“What if I’m wrong?”
Reacting to Licona’s blunt question, Hays remarks:
Assuming, for the sake of argument, that you were wrong to believe in Christianity, so what? If you're wrong, it's not as if you have anything to lose.
Since Christianity demands that one “give up everything” and “die” for the sake of an imaginary Jesus, either the believer has already given up everything, or he’s holding something back. If he’s already given everything up, he already lost everything by becoming a Christian. If he still has something to lose, he hasn’t given everything up for the Jesus he imagines and thus has no business peddling Christianity. Which category does Hays fit into? Since he continues to blog, it’s clear he hasn’t given up his computer, so it’s not very mysterious where the evidence points on this matter.
Hays goes on to say:
If nihilism is the logical alternative, then you're better off being wrong.
In a comment left on the same blog post, Hays wrote:
For apostates to say intellectual honestly led then out of Christianity misses the point. For intellectual honesty has no normative value in atheism. In effect, they are saying intellectual honesty led them to deny intellectual honesty. It's self-defeating.
Yes, I’m certainly glad these aren’t my problems!
by Dawson Bethrick