The Deconversion of Paul Maxwell
I listened to Anthony Bradley’s recent interview of Paul Maxwell with fascination and apprehension. I knew little about Maxwell prior to listening, and the interview proved intriguing. Maxwell had gone from an intellectually robust, thoughtful proponent of Reformed Christianity to an intellectually robust, thoughtful atheist.
And his biography mirrors my own. We were born in the same area of the country a year apart, both became interested in philosophy as a means to power in college, both devoured Van Tillian presuppositionalism, both attended a Westminster school (Redeemer Seminary, in my case) following the Pete Enns debacle, and both left the seminary having been burned by the community. I normally find deconversion narratives personally uncompelling since there is typically dogmatic distance between myself and the other person prior to their deconversion.
Not so with Maxwell. It was like watching a martial artist and realizing that not only did he train at the same dojo as me, he wears a more advanced belt. Usually the motivations and methods of deconversions aren’t capable of landing a blow on me, but Maxwell could not only penetrate my objections, but could anticipate my best counter-attacks. Maxwell is clearly much smarter and more educated than me…