Sunday, April 10, 2005

A Paradigm Shift

I would like to share a moving email that I received recently. Many will be able to identify with the emotions expressed here. I include it here with the writer's permission.

I wrote you once before on the issue of Biblical inerrancy. In that letter, I indicated that I taught a High School Bible class but had not stopped thinking. A little background briefly; My Father was an independent, fundamental, separatist, Baptist pastor, who believes in the literal inspiration of the Bible. Hence, I was raised within that worldview. I grew up being a "witness", being separated from the world, meaning that I didn't drink, smoke, dance, watch movies, listen to rock music, go to parties, have unsaved friends over, etc. I was a good "Christian", president of my church youth group, active in church as a Sunday School Teacher, Choir Director,
Door to Door calling, etc. I attended not one, but two fundamental Bible colleges graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Secondary Ed., Math. At one point, I was liscensed to minister. So much of what you say, and even how you say it really strikes directly home with me. I enjoy finally reading about some of the very same questions I have pondered. There has always been a part of me that didn't really believe, that questioned; perhaps that was the healthy part of my mind?

I am starting to feel an incredible sense of loss, anger, even betrayal of God (if He exists, and I'm thinking about that), not to mention embarrassment at being so obviously ignorant of basic science that the rest of the world seems to take for granted. And, I am just now, at 44, realizing that perhaps literally everything I have ever been raised to hold dear, believed was a universal absolute, etc. is in fact a wrong belief based upon ignorance, poorly researched "science" and flawed thinking.

I am realizing that my upbringing was a very minority group, I almost feel that I am endeavoring to escape a cult set of beliefs to get to normal. I don't know if I can fully express the sense of loss and its ramifications that I am beginning to feel! I will probably have to resign my position as the High School Math Department Chair to preserve any personal integrity if I experience a paradigm shift in my worldview. At the same time, it seems to me, that perhaps there could be a huge sense of freedom, that finally I could realize my full potential to achieve things that I want to achieve.

This man's experience echos mine in many ways. I can certainly identify with the intense feelings of loss and anger as he realizes he has committed his life to something empty. I can assure the writer that these feelings are natural. But many of us have found that the pain is only temporary. The thrill of opening up to a whole new world soon erases the pain. There is a world to be explored and a whole new life to be lived from a new perspective. And the thrill of this adventure more than overwhelms the feeling of loss.

So I feel with the writer as he goes through this loss, and I rejoice with him as he looks to better days ahead.

I do wish the author the best of luck. He has some difficult decisions ahead. But he is well on his way to finding the strength withing to conquer. He has bravely set out on the path of truth, and he is doing the right thing. Another mind set free!