Walk Away How I walked away By Skipp Porteous As all Christian fundamentalists do, I grew
How I walked away
By Skipp Porteous
As all Christian fundamentalists do, I grew up believing that "all
scripture is by given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."
Later, while preparing for the ministry, the scholars at LIFE Bible
College taught me that the word "inspiration" literally means "God-breathed."
Of course, I didn't understand everything in the Bible; some things
even seemed outlandish. Nevertheless, there was a moment in my life
when I made a commitment to blindly follow "God's word."
This commitment came about after hearing a fascinating story about
Billy Graham. As I remember the story, Graham took a train to a certain
city to conduct one of his famous evangelistic crusades. When Graham
dismounted the train, a reporter fired a question at the evangelist.
"Reverend Graham," the reporter shouted. "What do you think about
sex before marriage?"
"It doesn't matter what I think," Graham shot back. "The Bible calls
Rather than applying situational ethics to the problem, or simply
coming up with his own conclusion about the matter, Graham said authoritatively,
"The Bible says..."
Seeing things in black and white, with no gray areas, made life so
much simpler. It precluded the need to think.
For years I lived with complete dependence on the Bible as my source
of reality and truth. My wife embraced the same precepts. Our circle
of friends consisted entirely of Bible-believers.
Though trained in the Bible as a minister, I still looked to other
Bible teachers to lead us into the "deeper truths" of God's word.
This brought us into all sorts of religious perversity and irrational
An introduction to the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International
initiated us into the Pentecostal/Charismatic world of speaking in
tongues, prophetic utterances, exorcism, and faith healing. From there,
we went on to encounter paranoid Christian cults caught up in conspiracy
theories and "end-time" revelations.
Eventually, after 12 years of marriage and 11 years of ministry, a
difficult divorce ensued. This caused many Christians to display their
intolerance. While their hatred toward me only increased my faith,
my desire to associate with them disappeared.
After my divorce, I took a sabbatical, assumed a job at a local newspaper,
and, with my three children, moved into a small apartment. I planned
to reenter the ministry after a year's leave, hoping to become refreshed,
and having new vision.
During that year I started an objective study of the Bible. I figured
that by approaching it with an open mind I would discover new insights.
I'll highlight a few of my discoveries.
Christianity is based upon the New Testament record of Jesus, yet
there is no account of a single word written by him. We have only
the words of others who claim to tell us what Jesus said. Some of
these writers never even knew him. What they put into writing as many
as sixty years after his death was hearsay. The Gospel writers don't
even agree on Jesus's genealogy, or exactly what he said, or the details
of his life, leaving us with a record replete with inconsistencies
It is apparent that many of the sayings of Jesus were made up by his
followers. As with any folk hero, the stories became more and more
exaggerated as time went on.
Most of the New Testament is a collection of Saul/Paul's letters.
Paul was a sexist, racist (he endorsed slavery), bigoted zealot, yet
his carefully crafted monographs succeeded in creating a major religion
out of the life of an obscure Jew who apparently only wanted to streamline
Paul, not Jesus, was the real inventor of Christianity. The fruit
of Paul's letters have been the root of more than three hundred Christian
denominations and sects, most of which were formed as a result of
disagreement over the correct meaning of Paul's words.
The Bible's self-proclamation of "inspiration" is problematic. All
"sacred" books make that claim. For example, as an evangelical Christian,
I rejected the Book of Mormon, though it, too, claims to be from
I came to realize that "sin," a simple three-letter word, perpetuates
the entire born-again industry.
No one is perfect. Everyone occasionally makes poor choices, and sometimes
acts maliciously, but no one "sins." Sin is nothing more than a theological
concept which has no basis in reality. Sin sells religion. No one
is going to be punished by God for sins. When I finally accepted this
truth, it set me free.
Have I rejected God? No. Man created God in his own image. I reject
Do I have faith? Yes. In fact, I soon realized that my fervent prayers
revealed my lack of faith. True faith and trust is solid; it asks
for nothing; it does not beg or implore. That is real faith.
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