Secular British historian Tom Holland tells the story of growing up in church, only to lose his faith in the process. In this extraordinarily provocative essay in the New Statesman, Holland describes his first encounter with doubt:
- When I was a boy, my upbringing as a Christian was forever being weathered by the gale force of my enthusiasms. First, there were dinosaurs. I vividly remember my shock when, at Sunday school one day, I opened a children’s Bible and found an illustration on its first page of Adam and Eve with a brachiosaur. Six years old I may have been, but of one thing – to my regret – I was rock-solid certain: no human being had ever seen a sauropod. That the teacher seemed not to care about this error only compounded my sense of outrage and bewilderment. A faint shadow of doubt, for the first time, had been brought to darken my Christian faith.
But years later, after researching the grand history of civilization, he comes to a very different conclusion. While still not embracing the faith, Holland takes on a profound appreciation for the Apostle Paul:
- It took me a long time to realise my morals are not Greek or Roman, but thoroughly, and proudly, Christian.
On the Unbelievable podcast/radio program, Tom Holland sits down with New Testament scholar N.T. Wright and show host Justin Brierley, to talk about how his mind changed. Unbelievable, perhaps my top, favorite podcast, has a new series, entitled The Big Conversation, featuring some of the top world thinkers, including Jordan B. Peterson, Steven Pinker, and Daniel Dennett. Tom Holland is the author of various books, such as the In the Shadow of the Sword: The Birth of Islam and the Rise of the Global Arab Empire and The Forge of Christendom: The End of Days and the Epic Rise of the West. N.T. Wright is one of the world’s most influential, New Testament historians, and author of the recent Paul: A Biography:
Interested in the whole discussion? Listen to the whole Unbelievable episode below, having the title “How St. Paul Changed the World.”
What do you think?