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“”If God's love encompasses the whole world and if everyone who does not believe in him will perish, then surely this question needs to be asked: When, after two thousand years, does God's plan kick in for the billion people he "so loves" in China? Or for the 840 million in India? Or the millions in Japan, Afghanistan, Siberia, Egypt, Burma… and on and on? Why would a God who "so loved the world" reveal his message only to a tiny minority of the people on earth, leaving the majority in ignorance? Is it possible to believe that the Father of all Mankind would select as his Chosen People a small Middle Eastern nation, Israel, reveal His will exclusively to them, fight alongside them in their battles to survive, and only after their failure to reach out to any other group, update His plan for the world's salvation by sending His "only begotten son", not to the world but, once again, exclusively to Israel?
|—Charles Templeton, Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith (1990)|
Charles Bradley Templeton (1915 – 2001) was a Canadian cartoonist, evangelist, agnostic, politician, newspaper editor, inventor, broadcaster and author. His early education was at Parkdale Collegiate Institute.
Life as an evangelist
In 1936, Templeton converted to Christianity and became an evangelist. In 1941, he founded the Avenue Road Church, now a Hare Krishna temple, in Toronto, in a building that formerly housed a Presbyterian congregation, where he served as senior pastor despite his lack of formal theological training. The Avenue Road Church congregation eventually became affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination, and its name was changed to Bayview Glen Church. He was also best friends with Billy Graham and both made an evangelistic tour of western Europe, frequently rooming together, and holding crusades in England, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden and other countries. Few now recall that when Graham was just starting in the revivalism circuit, he was half of a team. Chuck Templeton (as he was then known) and Billy Graham, fondly called the "Golddust Twins", quickly grew famous for their deep faith and charismatic preaching.
Deconversion to agnosticism
Templeton was curious about the foundation of Christianity, so he attended the Princeton Theological Seminary in 1948. However, in 1957, after a long struggle with doubt, Templeton declared himself an agnostic and secular humanist. In 1995, Templeton described his eventual rejection of his faith in his final published work, Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith (1995). In the memoir, Templeton explained his reasons for leaving the faith for a variety of reasons: difficulties of the Christian creation myth, bigotry in the Bible, sexism, historical problems of Jesus, failure of prayer, the existence of evil, and suffering and death.
- Evangelism for Tomorrow (1955)
- Life Looks Up (1957)
- Jesus (1973)
- The Kidnapping of the President (1975)
- Act of God (1977)
- The Third Temptation (1980)
- An Anecdotal Memoir (1983)
- The Queen's Secret (1986)
- World of One (1988)
- Succeeding (1989)
- End Back Attacks (1992)
- Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith (1995)
His history is perhaps one of the most compelling examples of how studying and analyzing scripture and church history can destroy the faith of an earnest believer. It is also an example of how curiosity and faith do not mix.