I have a problem, and I created this account specifically for the purpose of addressing it. But before I do, but I want to give a bit of background first to maybe place it into context. I'm really sorry for the length, but there's a lot I need to get off my chest (and this might not even be all of it).I apologize in advance if anything I say comes off as harsh. Here goes:
I was raised in the Coptic church for the vast majority of my life. It was all I ever knew and all I ever needed. There was nothing this world could offer me that could even try to compare to Christ.
I am also very inquisitive by nature, and because of this, I love learning and science. I also learned to think critically when I was really little. I don't like the idea of accepting things just because someone in a position of authority (professor, etc.) tells me they're true. I should be able to look into them and determine why they are true, or at least if the evidence is compelling enough that the thing is likely true.
About a year ago, it dawned on me that I had never applied this process to my Coptic faith. We have the Bible, and it seems to make sense, and that was that. So I asked myself a very simple question: How do we know that Christianity is true? (or any religion for that matter). I still don't have an answer. And with each passing month, I seem to be finding more compelling evidence that it is actually not true.
The first thing that seriously started me on this path was the argument I heard in church that evolution is false. My degree is in biology, and after weighing the evidence, I could come to no other conclusion other than to accept evolution (though I initially did not want to). And when I seriously looked into the reasons given for its supposed falseness, I was blown away by how flawed the reasoning was. But, at the time, I told myself that evolution and the Bible could still be true simultaneously.
However, this had the effect of getting me to look into other arguments I'd heard in church, the ones for "why we know God exists". The more seriously I started picking them apart, the more flimsy they seemed, until finally, there was almost nothing left.
In addition to this, there seems to be evidence (and/or lack thereof) against certain portions in the Bible. Science seems to conflict with the Flood, archaeology seems to conflict with the Exodus, and I found numerous others. The New Testament also seems to be questionable. To call this disturbing would be a huge understatement.
I want to mention that while I was going through this process, I prayed with tears constantly, because no argument or evidence could possibly hope to match any answer He gave me. But no answers came, and the evidence kept piling. I thought at first that I was being arrogant by asking God himself to help me, so I turned to St. Mary, then other saints, asking them for something, anything. Nothing.
So, last November, I concluded, against my will, that there is in all likelihood no God. I did not eat or sleep for days after this happened. My entire worldview was radically altered in a way I'm not sure I can properly explain.
Here's the thing: I want to be wrong about this. I really want to be wrong about this.
I want you to tell me what's missing from this picture. I'll tell you all I've done and read, and what I accept and don't accept. Help me. Please.
I've looked into all of the arguments for God's existence (Cosmological, Teleological, Ontological, Argument from Design, Argument from Morality, etc.). I don't buy any of them, with the possible exception of the Cosmological as it's explained in Aquineas' Five Ways (I haven't read enough yet to form a solid opinion on this).
I've looked at it scientifically, and this has raised several issues. One of the bigger ones is obviously related to evolution. I've seen that some of you actually do accept evolution, so this question is specifically for you guys: How do you reconcile evolution with the creation story? And, equally important, WHY would He choose to make his creation in such a way that makes it as though divine intervention is not needed?
Science also raises questions about the literalness of specific events in the Bible, the Flood being a big one. I've looked into it as thoroughly as I know how, and there doesn't seem to be evidence for it. In fact, there is absence of evidence. Floods should leave pretty specific evidence behind, but we don't see any such thing to indicate a global flood, at any point in earth's history. There also doesn't seem to be any biological evidence of the genetic bottlenecks that should have happened when all of earth's species supposedly went nearly extinct. So is the flood a literal story or not, and how do we know?
I've also looked into the Bible itself, its composition, its authors, etc. What I've learned was depressing to say the least.
I've read the Case for Christ and Mere Christianity, and some of Augustine's writings, and didn't find them helpful. I'd planned to read Chesterton next.
My faith has become nonexistent. I don't know how else to say it. It seems that right now all I'm doing is wishful thinking, because all logic and evidence so far tells me that there is nothing else out there. And feelings are too subjective to be a reliable source of information.
I realize that there are a bazillion possible topics to be addressed here, and I apologize. But I had to get it all out in the open. If this needs to be separated into different threads, I'll do it. And I will gladly elaborate on anything I said here.
I also apologize for any impression of disrespect or arrogance here. This is literally the most important question a person can investigate, and I have to give it all I've got.