I hadn’t seen him in a year so we had a nice warm handshake when he showed up.
Two minutes later he announced he’d left the faith.
He could no longer condone the morality of God as seen in the OT:
- the slaughter of the Canaanites.
- the Mosaic law allowing men to force themselves upon women and take them as wives.
“Morally reprehensible,” Dan said with disgust.
All this was sounding familiar to me.
“Dan, I’m disappointed. This sounds like atheist internet rhetoric, not biblical scholarship. Where are you getting all this?”
“I’m surprised. You’re an ‘A’ student and you know the value of reading professional literature inside your field of study.”
“And yet you allow an amateur like Hitchens to guide your theology?”
“You’re shaming me.”
“I have a friend,” I said firmly, “who’s a bricklayer. He’s good at it. But would I want him doing my dental work? Fixing my car? Prescribing my meds?”
We had a tense back-and-forth for a few minutes.
“Okay, what should I do?” he finally asked.
“Read some real theologians, for and against your position (I gave him some names). Stay within the professional guild. If you’re going to leave the faith, at least do it thoughtfully.”
I wish I could say all my conversations go well and that I never say the wrong thing. Not true. I was totally second-guessing myself on this one.
How might have I responded differently to Dan?