Studying faith leads to loss of faith — twice

Recently, two, count ’em, two major religion writers have quit their job, and both for similar reasons. Namely, the more you learn about faith, the less faith you actually have.

Stephen Bates, now former religious affairs writer for the London Guardian, writes:

“Now I am moving on. It was time to go. What faith I had, I’ve lost, I am afraid – I’ve seen too much, too close. A young Methodist press officer once asked me earnestly whether I saw it as my job to spread the Good News of Jesus. No, I said, that’s the last thing I am here to do.”

Meanwhile, William Lobdell, who describes himself formerly as “a serious Christian,” similarly writes:

My soul, for lack of a better term, had lost faith long ago — probably around the time I stopped going to church. My brain, which had been in denial, had finally caught up.

Clearly, I saw now that belief in God, no matter how grounded, requires at some point a leap of faith. Either you have the gift of faith or you don’t. It’s not a choice. It can’t be willed into existence. And there’s no faking it if you’re honest about the state of your soul.

No wonder religions claim that the ways of God are mysterious and inscrutable, and cannot be studied. It turns out that when people actually do study those ways, they have the unfortunate tendency to stop believing.

Welcome out of the fold, Stephen and William!