“I find it no light task to follow my vocation, to put pressure on the Christian Faith to reconcile itself in all sincerity with historical truth. But I have devoted myself to it with joy, because I am certain that truthfulness in all things belongs to the spirit of Jesus.” - Albert Schweitzer
“I want to know the truth, even if I cannot cheer it.” - Dale C. Allison
Following the evidence wherever it leads has always been a strong value of mine, even if that means entertaining possibilities that might call into question my most dearly held beliefs. This is why I have Paul’s advice from 1 Thessalonians 5:21 tattooed on my wrist. It’s a constant reminder to always keep my mind and heart open to other ways of looking at the world, regardless of the consequences.
Following Paul’s advice has recently led me to entertain some serious doubts about many core tenets of the Christian story, not least the resurrection and divinity of Jesus. I’m not convinced it’s all false, and I harbor no fundamental bias against it, but I no longer find it plausible enough to base my whole life on it. As a worldview, a way of answering all of life’s most important questions, the Christian story has significantly lost its explanatory power in my mind. Thus I can no longer in good conscience call myself a Christian.
But at the same time, and despite the shrill insistence of the culture warriors that such a position is impossible, I remain just as committed as ever to following Jesus’ vision for humanity, the way of loving my enemies, serving instead of being served, turning the other cheek, etc. I want to follow Jesus’ way of being human, not because I think I have to, because Jesus is God and I have to do what he says or else, but because I think the power and wisdom of that ethic stands independently of the credal, metaphysical claims of the Christian tradition. So I’d call myself an agnostic Jesus follower.
I’ve kept most of my doubts pretty close to the chest for the last few years, not wanting to be a “stumbling block” to anyone else, but I don’t think that’s really helpful to anyone anymore. I’ll probably be processing through my journey more publicly in the future, engaging with the issues that led me to doubt the Christian story even as I try to follow Jesus' vision for humanity.
In the meantime, here are a few articles from around the web that helped me process my journey. If you're on a similar path, I highly recommend reading more from these authors.
5 Reasons Why I Am A Secular Jesus Follower by Tom Krattenmaker
Five Times When Jesus Sounded Like a Humanist by Neil Carter
What it means to be a “secular” Jesus follower by Tom Krattenmaker