While I can’t say that I started reading my first atheist book exactly on 9/10/05, I definitely did close to it. I still use same day receipts as book marks and I have never taken this one out of Bertrand Russell’s Why I Am Not a Christian. Of course, when I walked out of Books-a-Million that day, I also carried out a Christian book and explained that I was studying to defend against atheism. In fact, I remember the book’s namesake essay and thinking, “I wouldn’t want to be the kind of Christian Russell disliked either.”
This series of articles will document how searching for “the way, the truth, and the life” led to disbelief in one individual. And it’s inspired by a random event that happened tonight as I was skimming through my library. I hope to outline how my apologetics studies began and where my beliefs stand today. I’ll start here in the middle, inspired by this little token of my past.
I went back through Why I Am Not a Christian years later and noted where certain arguments were now “outdated,” especially by arguments posed by William Lane Craig. But now I am reading it through again. And I see such simple power in the article. I think what amazed me then still amazes me now – that Russell though he could sidestep Christianity so easily.
The pages of the book have long been yellow now, but the content is just as fresh as the day I bought it nearly 14 years ago. Back then, everything was different. I was a Christian high school graduate seeking to become an apologist and philosopher, a sexual virgin, a cigarette virgin, alcohol virgin, and one hell of a cocky guy.
But at the same time, I had already bought a book that would change my life forever. And I bought it from Union University’s on-campus Lifeway Bookstore: Frank Viola’s Pagan Christianity….
Russell, Bertrand. Why I Am Not a Christian: And Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects. Touchstone, 1957.