Here we go again. Sorry, that’s a bit of exasperation. I read today about another Christian musician who has given up his faith because he discovered many things he had overlooked. So, here’s another round of “I never knew this about Christianity.”
Shannon Low, frontman of Order of Elijah, a “Christian Deathcore” band gave up his faith. (Pardon my ignorance, but I have no idea what a Christian Deathcore band is other than something to do with heavy metal). Low renounced his faith because he was ignorant of accusations that the earliest gospel was written fifty years after Jesus “supposedly” died. Paul never read any of the gospels. Or, that there is no evidence of Jesus’ existence that was written by contemporary writers. He goes on to say that the eyewitnesses to the miracles were long gone before the gospels were written and the wonders the gospels contain are similar to wonders of “other gods before his time.” Low admits he picked up a copy of The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins that answered so many of his questions. In effect, reading this book made sense of the “chaotic puzzle” he had encountered. Of course, he imbibed Dawkins’ rants of the God of the Old Testament being so mean, ugly, petty, jealous, vindictive, racist, and misogynistic. I may have added a few words there for color, but you get the idea. If you’ve read Dawkins’ God Delusion, you’ll know I went easy on God here.
Here’s my exasperation: So another high profile celebrity Christian falls to the attacks against Christianity and buys wholesale the familiar arguments that are shallow and defeated with a bit of knowledge and logic. Low says he studied the history of the Old Testament, and so I’m wondering how and with what did he study? What were his tools other than swallowing God Delusion as if it were the Bible? I’m wondering if he read Dawkins’ Delusion. Or, The Devil’s Delusion, both which give considerable evidence for God’s existence and easily refute the likes of Richard Dawkins’ arguments.
I’m afraid we will continue to see these modern Christian icons fall from grace because of seemingly sound ideas. All of the ideas Low mentions in his FaceBook post are easy to defeat. Better he could have been prepared for the arguments beforehand, which is a better idea still. Christians are still relatively ignorant of the Bible’s history. We are still novices when it comes to argumentation and how to engage with contrary ideas. Although apologetics subjects have come closer to the forefront, they are still a long way off for the average Christian. Training in logic and critical thinking are not standard, not even promoted in most Christian churches.
Shannon Low would probably still be a Christian today if he’d have learned something of how we got the Bible we have today. He might still be a Christian if he understood some basic theology, a study of the character of God. I’d wager his Christianity was based a lot on emotion and more than likely a bit of political correctness. He may have encountered some legalism among Christians, too.
Low’s departure from the Christian faith echoes through countless other unprepared, young Christians. There is great need to educate young people about the historical reliability of the New Testament, the transmission process of the Gospel message, and how to think critically. Low bought into Dawkins’ rhetoric because he could not critically judge what Dawkins wrote in The God Delusion. Any skilled thinker could see through Dawkins’ arguments in the first few pages. Unfortunately, most of the literate world is not skilled in critical thinking, and the book has sold millions.
Other Christians will read Low’s Facebook post and begin to question their faith too. Low’s commentary and his statements will resonate with their doubts. Once again, this is a heads up for the church to take seriously the arguments marshalled against the Christian faith.
–Dr. Ray Ciervo