Atheist Daughter of Christian Apologist Speaks Out, Introduction

I question how “notable” Matt Slick is. I’m better-read on Christian apologetics than the average bear, and I’d not heard of the guy until reading this guest piece by his daughter Rachael. I think it is a worthy read, as there are important lessons to be learned.

While I am not as quick to pile onto her dad–and blame him for Rachael’s atheism–there are definitely areas where he apparently dropped the ball. Badly.

Before I get into that, some observations about Rachael:

(1) She bears responsibility for her own atheism. We must not fall into this trap of saying, “If only her parents had been like X, she’d be a wonderful Christian gal!” While there are some areas of contributory negligence on their part, it is also true that they could have done everything right, and the outcome would be the same. I say this not to condemn her–if she rejects God, then she’s already there, and my true interest is in helping her get out of that–but just to point out that it would not be prudent to jump on the “let’s kick the parents” bandwagon.

(2) While she raises some good questions that she encountered in her journey, the answers she said she received are not indicative of the quality that reflects a basic understanding of the Scriptures in terms of how the OT relates to the NT.

It seems that, for all the apologetics and Biblical memorization to which she was subjected, she has lost the forest in the trees. I’ll elaborate more later.

(3) In celebrating her embrace of Atheism, she now proclaims:

Someone once asked me if I would trade in my childhood for another, if I had the chance, and my answer was no, not for anything.
 My reason is that, without that childhood, I wouldn’t understand what freedom truly is — freedom from a life centered around obedience and submission, freedom to think anything, freedom from guilt and shame, freedom from the perpetual heavy obligation to keep every thought pure. Nothing I’ve ever encountered in my life has been so breathtakingly beautiful. 

Freedom is my God now, and I love this one a thousand times more than I ever loved the last one.

That tells me much about her lack of understanding of Scripture, not to mention empirical realities. How much of that is on her, and how much of that is on her parents, I’m not going to judge. Still, she’s either lost the forest in the trees, or she has flat-out rejected the truth, or some combination thereof. Again, more later.

But if 10% of her story is true–and, FWIW, I believe most of it–then there are definitely some serious takeaways for parents and teachers alike.

More to come.

7 thoughts on “Atheist Daughter of Christian Apologist Speaks Out, Introduction

  1. Rachael’s father seems to be a legalist, though he doesn’t seem to teach performance-based salvation.

    When reading stories like this, one has to wonder if the person claiming Atheism is 100% positive there is no God. Even Ms. Slick admits, I only barely fear Hell now, and my instinct to pray only turns up on rare

    Sounds like she isn’t yet convinced.

    Finally, she seems to be implying that the “freedom” of atheism allows her to have sex with her boyfriend. I hope she has not crossed that line.

  2. I believe that Rachael clearly understood that salvation is not gained by works. Here’s what she said in another forum responding to a comment that started, “Looks a bit like she misunderstood relationship with God and was seeking to please God by good works.”

    “I was intensely aware that one could not please God through good works. All of my actions were ‘because’ I was saved, not ‘for’ salvation, and everybody I debated were aware of this fact.”

    David, you make a good point about her uncertainty. I think she’s trying really hard not to believe in God.

    Unfortunately, she has “crossed that line” and then some. Some of her comments elsewhere are quite explicit.

    • Yep. I think a lot of her attempt NOT to believe in God stems from her “crossing that line”.

      I’ve seen the dynamic before.

      At the same time, I think it is possible that she understood–on an academic level–that salvation is not through works, while, on a functional level, acting in a mindset that is much to the contrary.

      She would not be the first person I’ve seen who has done that. She does, from the account she gave, seem to be someone who grew up wanting to please her father, and yet was often frustrated at how short of the glory she wound up.

      If you’re being raised by perfectionists, and operate in a perfectionist mindset, and then fail badly–such as giving up virginity outside of marriage, and then later struggling between the dichotomy of enjoying non-marital sex while knowing it is against God’s law–it is very easy to understand how that would have created a serious problem for her.

      If God is right, lots of repentance would be necessary.

      Rejecting God–pushing the guilt away–allows the continuance of pleasure, at least for a season.

      Pretty sad.

      • Amir, I think you are exactly right. Given the choice of continuing in worldly pleasure or returning to a life of Godly discipline, the easiest thing in the world is to rationalize one’s current behavior.

        Some of Rachael’s comments suggests that she had serious father-daughter issues long before she rejected the faith. She said that there were “other (and, in my opinion, far more insane) aspects of my childhood” that she may elaborate on in the future.

        I had the opportunity to ask Rachael if she was planning on writing an intellectual critique of Christianity (or Theism) and here is her answer, “Yes, I do. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that people want me to write stuff, and then take me seriously”

        I’m looking forward to reading her critique.

        • I look forward to reading that, too.

          Personally, I have no axe to grind with her. I feel bad for the choices she has made, as she is adding baggage for herself that, irrespective of whether she returns to the Faith, will bite her badly one day.

          I hope she, like the Preacher in Ecclesiastes, eventually regains her bearings.

          • I don’t know if Hebrews 6:4-6 applies here, but I seriously doubt she will ever return. Think of the humility that would require. Of course, we know that nothing is too hard for God.

          • I dunno…it depends on whether she was ever there to begin with. Having the head knowledge is not the same thing as the experience of Biblical repentance.

            There’s hope for her, but it won’t be a result of our works.

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