Ruth Tucker, Walking Away From the Faith: Unraveling the Mystery of Belief and Unbelief, Intervarsity Press, 2002.
Walking Away from the Faith includes three parts and fourteen chapters. In part one, Tucker “fleshes out the human side of the mystery by examining her own life and questions of faith, and the case studies of others.” In chapter one, the author shares her own faith story and her struggle with doubt. She notes, “Like the people discussed in this book, I have a story—a story interwoven with belief and unbelief” (17). She became a Christian at a young age at an Evangelical church. She later would accept a call to missions. Then tragedy struck on September 23, 1969. On that horrible day her mother was killed in an automobile accident. Tucker says her whole world caved in. She was already struggling with doubts. The author writes, “Already struggling with abstract doubts, I now had very personal doubts about the God I worshiped and how this incident, this accident, fit into my faith” (21). She thought about the Scripture that says that all things work together for good to those who love God. Tucker, however, did not feel that way. She responded: “But no, no, no! I screamed, all things don’t work together for good. And in this case, if there is truly a God out there who is all powerful, why, O God, why, I asked, did you not prevent this terrible accident? (21)” The problem of evil and suffering usually pops up when discussing doubting and unbelief. Tucker states that the poetry of Emily Dickinson helped her to make sense of pain and suffering and belief in God. Dickinson in her poem, “I Know He exists” writes, I know that He exists./Somewhere—in Silence—He has hid his rare life/ From our gross eyes.” The concept of the silence and absence of God is discussed throughout the book.
Tucker disagrees with some authors who emphasize the sunnier side of doubt. She thinks they do not take the negative side of doubt as seriously as they should. She notes, “So much of the writing on doubt is to assure us doubters, that bottom line, doubt is good, that our faith is strengthened through doubt, that to be a good thinking Christian one must experience doubt” (25). Walking Away from Faith looks at the “dark, fierce, hoary side of doubt and the next logical step—unbelief” (25). The author tells the stories of “once-professing Christians—many of them involved in long-time Christian ministry—who have abandoned the faith” (25). Why did these Christians abandon the faith? Some of these reasons are discussed in part two of the book.