By Matt Wigzell
I have spent a fair amount of time on your site. People like you fascinate me. I find myself marveling at your boundless energy to heap yet more and imaginative scorn and ridicule on the community you left, but didn’t. Like that annoying JW who keeps sticking their foot in the door, you just can’t seem to bring yourself to walk away.
Editor's Note: My replies are in red text.
Of course I left the CDs. No one ever left them as much as I did. But I feel an obligation to undo some of the damage I caused as a CD and to enlighten CDs to a better way of looking at life. As an ExCD I can do this much more effectively than an outsider.
I do understand the cause of quite a bit of your bitterness, I had a stint as a TE, tried atheism for about 6 months and then set myself the challenge of proving God right from scratch.
It goes without saying that I came back to my faith and in many ways feel much stronger than I ever did.
One thing I notice about people who leave is that there is one or two major hurdles in their lives which they cannot seem to get over. The gnat which makes them swallow the camel, the mole hill which becomes the mountain.
On your site you carry on a lot about the injustice of God, the disasters, the pain and the sorrow. You cannot seem to get over the fact that creation has been made subject to futility, corruption, bondage and death.
I do understand this, when flirting with atheism I lowered God to a human level and railed against the abuses of power, of human rights and the patent unfairness of it all.
I'm impressed with your insight.
But then I found out that Abraham had the same doubts, he asked God if he destroys the good with the bad.
Moses had the same doubts, he appeals on behalf of the relatives of Korah to give them a chance.
David when being punished questions the fairness of punishing the people.
Habakkuk questions the justice of God in bringing the Babylonians to judge Israel.
Job in his darkest moments appeals to the fact that he knows God exists and he knows that he will be redeemed.
The point is that we are made in His image and likeness, we all have the capacity to question Gods moral judgements and authority and most people do and all people struggle with the seeming injustice of it all.
In other words, there is not a harmonising feel good, mutually acceptable explanation which will satisfy us completely in this life right now.
What you are saying is that you have no answer to the problem of suffering but you accept the injustice of God in the spirit of blind Fideism.
I do not like ethnic cleansing and I doubt I ever will, I feel for the dude who picked up sticks on the Sabbath and got stoned. I would have given Achan and Moses another chance.
So how do we deal with these things, do we rail and rail against God, do we hurl derision and scorn, do we think of new and imaginative ways to drive home the point that life is not fair and God is bad to the cheers and jeers of the faithful?
Yes; that's exactly what we should do.
Well that’s the path you have chosen and you have formed a self-affirming, self-reinforcing belief structure around it which I personally do not think you find very liberating, otherwise you would not feel the need to keep reminding us of how liberating it is.
If I did not feel that it was liberating I would have no motivation to say that it was. It is.
I notice in your site, you keep saying ‘we’ and ‘our’. You have not left us John, you still identify with something that you simply cannot walk away from.
Christadelphianism is my family religion. I am trying to evolve it into Christadelphian Atheism because I think that makes much more sense.
What did Job do when faced with the unfairness of life?
He resorted to Fideism like all the Christadelphians do.
Well he went back to the basics, I know that my redeemer liveth.
His "redeemer" was obeying Satan. (Job 1:9) He must have been nuts to think that his "redeemer" obeyed Satan.
Does God exist?
I think that it is vanishingly unlikely.
You cant answer that question definitively with any real conviction either way. You oscillate between talking about Him, envisioning the world He might exist in, scorning Him and ridiculing him.
When I talk about God I am speaking rhetorically. I think that there is as much chance that there is a God as there is that Kim Jong-Il is God.
I think we see the same reaction with Saul, you are fighting with the reality of a being to whom we owe our existence, to whom we are all accountable.
I'm not fighting with anything. I see no empirical evidence for God. Belief in God is a cultural default setting conditioned from birth. I think rationally and sceptically and I conclude that I see no credible evidence for the existence of God.
But the fact remains, there is more in the fine tuning of the universe, the fine tuning of the earth, the fine tuning of life, the brilliance of it all, to testify of the existence of God.
So many real scientists accepted that the rationality of the universe can only be explained by appealing to a rational mind, and the ability of humans to make sense of the universe can only be explained by the image and likeness of God.
The anthropological bias of the Universe is inevitable because otherwise we would not be here to observe it. But you have made an illogical jump of reasoning to connect that bias with your family deity. All religions from the dawn of history have made the same claim and you are merely following in their footsteps. The only thing that marks your claim to be any different to that of billions of other people is a strong, subjective, anecdotal, emotional feeling inside your own head. But as all of the other billions of religious people feel the same way about their god and religion, it is reasonable to conclude that you are all suffering from a cognitive delusion of self deception.
That’s the brief summary, Newton, Einstein, Lennox and Antony Flew deal with this in much greater detail in a much more compelling evidence based way.
Newton, Lennox and Flew would consider you to be a heretic doomed to punishment by God. Einstein would not have had the time of day for you because he was a Deist and NOT a Theist.
The fact is there is so much evidence for the existence of God, that the position which demands more faith is that of atheism. Even the wall street journal has come to the party arguing the case for God.
You mean that someone writing in the Wall Street Journal is a Theist. So what? Atheism is an absence of faith. To argue that you need faith to lack faith is illogical.
So God does exist, I think we can take that as a given despite the fact that your chosen God, science, will forever be looking for an alternate explanation.
A "straw man" logical fallacy. Science is not my God. Science does not consider the possible existence of God because such a hypothesis is metaphysical and science by definition can only apply itself to that which has empirical evidence and is therefore physical. Science is indifferent to the concept of God, which is why millions of scientists are religious. It does not impact their faith in the metaphysical world.
This opens a philosophical and spiritual can of worms, and it is here that I think we find the main source of your bitterness.
Why did God create? Does He have expectations? Are we obligated to Him? What are the terms and conditions? Are they palatable to me?
I think I can answer, from your writings, that despite your willingness to concede the possibility of Gods existence, all of the other questions provide the source of your rage.
You mistake the energy, efficiency and effectiveness of my communication skills for rage. Those same skills, in less than fourteen years, built a global business that allowed me to retire young. It was not "rage" that built that business; although my competitors that were financially ruined by my work might have agreed with you! :) My Ex-Christadelphian work is a trivial hobby to me that requires very little of my time and almost none of my intellect.
It is inevitable that the Bible is the main focus of your scorn and ridicule.
The next question therefore is. Has God revealed himself in the sacred book called the Bible?
There are many things that can be said and many arguments that can be explored. But for the record, one of the best arguments for the validity of the Bible as a sacred book containing Gods words is prophecy.
The promises to Abraham, David, the witness of Israel, Dan 2, 7, AD 70, Luke 21, 1967.
At this point I need to give credit to Jonathan Burke who in his book on prophecy, specifically revelation, demonstrated that prophecy has always been used down through the ages, by believers to make accurate predictions about future events. Events which came to pass.
He gives hundreds of examples, dating back 2000 years, of people who looked at prophecy and accurately predicted future events. Newton wrote about this as well and predicted the return of the Jews to the land.
That is just one example. The other is the life and words of Christ who does such a masterful job of giving us the wisdom to see people and assess them on their fruits.
Truly never a man spake like he did.
The failures of Bible prophecy and the fraudulent nature of the gospels that were written decades after the events described by their anonymous writers, have been exhaustively deal with on this website.
So for all the things I do not like about God and how He does things, for all the unfairness of it all. For all the bad behavior and silliness that goes on in ecclesial life, on a regular basis around the world. Behavior, which I might add, does not come near the abuses of the Corinthian ecclesia.
God exists and we have a very firm foundation for accepting the Bible as his words.
I think deep down you know this John.
What I think is a very long way beyond your comprehension my friend.
But you allowed other authorities to rock your faith, change your world view and create a new paradigm and a new reality.
No one moves my thinking except by intellectual brilliance or simple common sense. I found and still find very little of that within the Christadelphian community. Instead I see bugling incompetence, nasty mindedness and shallow minded ignorance of everything, including even their own religion.
You made mole hills into mountains, you strained at gnats and swallowed camels.
It is obvious to anyone who reads your site that someone or some people wounded you deeply and did not take you seriously enough and spurned your advice.
Why else would you be constantly trying to offer it while constantly attempting to disembowel our community on the Internet.
In another email you said to me "I have to hand it to you, you are the 'Richard Dawkins' of the Christadelphians." I took that as a compliment which is how you probably intended it to be taken. Maybe that is not so far from the truth. I am trying to talk some sense into the Christadelphians - and not without success.
You’re a 63 year old man John, you know God is out there. Because He is out there you know there is an ultimate reason for all of this. The genius that made all of this did not do it for nothing.
I hate to break it to you, but his reasons for doing so do not revolve around you or me, nor does he care about how you view Him and what your advice may or may not be as to how to make Himself more relevant to you and your happy, peaceful, liberated band of followers.
You know there are many things in my faith that do not sit 100% right, there are things I don’t like about my ecclesia, there are things I question God with all the time. Sometimes the only answer is to simply deal with it and focus on what I am sure of.
But I am not going to let these things blind me to the big picture and that is, I know my redeemer liveth and he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.
So despite all of your protests, your scorn, your ridicule, your derision, your hole poking, your advice, and last but not least, in spite of you the four continent ex Christadelphian John Bedson.
Its time to deal with your demons, stop kicking against the goads, get over yourself and get back on board.
The promises to Abraham are still going to be fulfilled John, with or without you.
You sound to me to be really pissed off with the Christadelphians. The only thing standing between you and deconversion is Fideism; but that is a very high mountain to get over and I sympathise with your situation. One day you might get a severe shock that will cause that Fideism to withdraw for sufficient time for your faith to break. That's what happened to me and to most Ex-Christadelphians. Reason does not deconvert people. What we do, is to provide a reassuring safety net for deconverts to fall into if they ever get shocked out of their Fideism and faith and they deconvert themselves. It lets Christadelphians know that there is a rational and intellectually satisfying framework one layer down from Christadelphianism, where they can restructure their thinking and their lives if the time ever comes that they need to jump ship. Moreover we provide a supportive and intellectually challenging global social network for such deconverts so they know that they will not be alone. - As I was thirty years ago when I deconverted. So enjoy your time as a Christadelphian my dear friend and be assured that if and when your moment of truth comes, we Ex-Christadelphians will be here to catch you, dust you down and set you back up on your feet again