Barrett Wolf was raised in an American Christian home. His father was a pastor of an evangelical non-denominational Christian church. He became active as an entrepreneur and business owner, as well as a Christian ordained minister, serving in a variety of church and para-church roles. He studied business and religion in college and ultimately settled on a career as an entrepreneur and businessman. However, his persistent desire to connect with the faith of his childhood and family motivated him to study the Bible and theology at the graduate level. Attending an evangelical Christian seminary, Barrett continued to study the Bible, the biblical languages and Christian theology. His studies led to more questions, which no longer could be satisfied with a catch-all answer, “you just have to have faith and believe.” Concluding faith was not a virtue, but an excuse to believe in something without evidence, Barrett eventually rejected the Christian religion as a viable explanation for the meaning of life.
Read Barrett’s personal statement below:
by Barrett Wolf
I have become unanchored from biblical Christianity and my faith, which was rooted in the literal reading of the Bible as the “inerrant and inspired Word of God”. I no longer believe in the Christian God of the Bible. Over time, I became willing to interact honestly with my doubts and skeptical thoughts regarding the following four categories:
- My careful observations of the changing world around me and the history and patterns of the Christian church accompanied by the inconsistent, irresponsible and manipulative biblical hermeneutics among the many fractions of disagreeing Christians.
- Problems with the canon of scripture and the historical disagreement and inconsistent adoption of the canon, as well as problems uncovered by textual criticism that undermine and discredit the doctrines biblical inerrancy and inspiration.
- Irreconcilable contradictions and inaccuracies in the Bible.
- Disturbing and horrible themes in the Bible including genocide, murder, infanticide, child cannibalism, rape, sexism, slavery, human sacrifice, animal sacrifice and eternal torture.
Undoubtedly, my life-long journey, with its many theological changes and disappointments, helped to establish my skeptical perspective and bring me to this place where my trust in people, churches and authorities has limitations. Who can I trust? Can I trust the early church fathers or councils? Can I trust the church, people and process of those who formed the canon over time? Can I trust my current church leaders? Can I trust my parents? My complete trust cannot be in these people, stories and traditions to determine the truth of these very important things. Even my own mind is not infallible, but it’s the best I have, as far as I can tell. I trust my mind to reason things, observe and make judgments more than any other source. To pursue truth continues to be my journey, my mission and my aim.
Currently, largely for the sake of harmony and convenience, I continue to practice traditions of Christianity with my family and those nearest to me. However, in reality, I would probably be best described as an agnostic/atheist with occasional influences of pantheistic deism and humanism-naturalism. I now enjoy studying empirical and evidence-based science with an open-mindedness toward the possibility that life is more than just purely physical; that our world might include a metaphysical or special unseen energetic force that significantly impacts things around us. I just don’t believe anymore in the God of the Bible, or any personal or revealed god.
I am on a journey of observations, thoughts, and questions and I have become unanchored from biblical Christianity. I am not adrift and lost, but free to sail forward. Confidently, I believe that this “unanchoring” and its emancipating process serves to liberate me to pursue growth and a healthy navigation of truthful uncharted waters. I sincerely hope for happiness and love in and beyond this life and to remain open-minded, humble, intelligent, wise and careful.