I am a long time reader of your site and a Bible believer for 10 years, I'm afraid I am coming to my second and perhaps final crossroad in faith. At age 19, I learned of the likes of Harris, Dawkins, and most importantly Hitchens after trying to liberalize my beliefs due to same-sex marriage becoming legal, as well as the cultural shift around me turning increasingly anti-Christian. This was my first round with doubt
Sadly, now I am more well-versed in arguments against my faith than the Bible its actually based on. I have managed to stand strong in Christ through a combination of blind trust that all questions I have seen will be answered satisfyingly as well as take solace in the documented converts of atheists to Christianity because, as flawed as it may be, personal experience of the soul will always trump evidence sought by the mind.
Both of these solutions are no longer suitable. Many prominent Christians have very publicly renounced the faith and while their questions have been answered by fellow Christians, none have returned to God's light. I believe, actually I know, there will be more. This has also hit me close to home as many of my friends have walked away. Statistics are showcasing that this is a regional trend in the once Christian west and while many are not becoming atheists, though it is growing, they are without doubt rejecting Christianity.
As for questions being answered, every answered question given has been rebutted or simply was not convincing enough to bring these folks back, so what good is apologetics? I know every man has a different threshold for evidence and that for some, nothing will convince them that God exists. The one-size-fits-all approach rarely ever applies and most certainly it doesn't here but, for those with honest doubts, they deserve solid truth.
I have spent hours for several days on this instead of doing anything productive. I haven't prayed to God seriously nor read the Bible in four years from fear that with my doubting mind I will see something that will turn me away as well. Instead, I have relied upon other apologists or basic logic when confronted by nonbelievers but no minds have been changed and I just leave with rage.
The only solution I have found that will convince me is that I will live by the Bible to the very letter for an entire year and live as if there was no God for another and should I still be of doubt, there is only one true way to know and the thought of this is terrifying, but I must know if God exists even if I must pay the ultimate price to do it.
I know it is possible to have a robust faith in this day and age. People who have lived longer than I and know far stronger arguments than I continue to proclaim that Christ is king in not just in the US but also in secular Europe and atheist China. The fact that many are not becoming atheists but nothing in particular shows that most are wondering, not fallen.
Please help me, I don't want to go through with my plan but I see no other way
"So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17).
I'm curious why you make your faith dependent on other people. Yes, there are people who come to believe in Christ and others who reject Christ. "This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight,
keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan, so that they will be taught not to blaspheme" (I Timothy 1:18-20). Either the evidence is there to convince you of the truth or it is not.
Yet, you purposely sought out the writings of disbelievers in order to reject the teachings of God. You called it "liberalizing" your beliefs, but all that means is that you rejected the strict teachings and wanted to embrace teachings that you found more acceptable. You blame this on the people around you instead of taking responsibility for your own choices.
You try to tell yourself that you are being balanced and fair, but you admit that you spent far more time studying human philosophy than studying God's teachings. And then you wonder what happened to your faith? "See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ" (Colossians 2:8). You speak of wanting truth, but you don't actually look for truth. "Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved" (II Thessalonians 2:8-10).
Sure, the atheists have their rebuttals but disagreement doesn't imply that it is true. It doesn't sound as if you dug into matters to see what the Bible actually says on various matters nor considered whether someone's arguments are reasonable or not.
You are so certain that the Bible contains errors that you stopped reading it out of fear of finding something that proves it wrong. That isn't a mark of faith, or rather it is a mark of atheistic faith. God's word has stood the test of time for 2,000 years. It will remain long after modern-day disbelievers have died.
People live by the teachings of God because they are right and improve their lives. They don't follow God's teachings to prove those teachings are true. Nor is living by the world going to prove that the worldliness is true. While dying will prove that God is true, to wait until after death is too late. You won't have any time to do something with the evidence you will encounter because after death is judgment (Hebrews 9:27).
"Then He said to Thomas, 'Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.' Thomas answered and said to Him, 'My Lord and my God!' Jesus said to him, 'Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed'" (John 20:27-29).
Thank you. What should I do?
"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15).
Start learning what Christianity truly is before you decide to reject it.