As a National Merit Scholar majoring in physics at Rice University, Henry Rambow thought he was a rational person. But primed by years of Sunday School and haunted by a promise made as a terrified child, he nevertheless fell head over heels into a fundamentalist brand of Christianity. Confessions of a Rogue Missionary is an account of his struggle—and eventual failure—to reconcile his faith with reason.
At times dryly humorous and at times sober and contemplative, the story begins when Henry is “born again.” Brimming with zeal—but already plagued by doubt—he travels to Beijing as a missionary in the guise of an English teacher, where he tries desperately to embrace the culture and win disciples for Jesus. Culture clashes and miscommunications result in cringe-inducing encounters in unlikely settings, ranging from a brothel to a military base.
Eventually, the very questions that troubled him from the start prove to be too much, and his faith collapses entirely, leaving him feeling disillusioned—but free.
“Exceptionally well written. Ranging from the awkward and hilarious to the deeply felt, existential, and theological, these stories entertain and captivate. Rambow’s contribution to this discourse, his exploration of the interplay between reason and faith, is extraordinarily important—a can’t miss.”
— A. J. Valenstein
“Every honest Christian could benefit from reading Rambow’s lucid and faith-challenging autobiography.”
— Craig Bowe
“Well-written, enjoyable, and thought-provoking.”
— The Nowhere Tribune
“An essential tale of our times.”
— W. P. Rivers
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Consciousness. Memory. Identity. Death. Everything and nothing. Loss of Consciousness is a collection of stories that range from gritty dystopian satire to heartwarming fantasy. The author presents a dark vision of a future replete with automation and artificial intelligence, in which humans have committed their lives into the hands of machines, only to have their own consciousness fade. He pokes fun at the modern culture of safetyism, elitist millennial attitudes toward taste, and the ultra-woke’s penchant for finding offense in anything and everything. These stories are guaranteed to captivate, delight, inspire … and disturb.
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For some, the appropriate response to mass shootings seems clear: We need more guns. Such thinking is behind a law in Texas that allows concealed firearms in university classrooms. Even many elementary, middle, and high schools have decided to arm their teachers. And one can now find children’s books that extol the virtues of carrying a gun. Good Guy with a Gun is a darkly satirical response to these disturbing trends. It tells the story of a gun-toting boy named Cody who initially saves the day when an attacker opens fire at his school. Cody is awarded a medal for his heroism, and everyone else decides to carry a gun as well. This sets the stage for certain terrible events that will drive home the book’s true message.
Short Stories and Essays
Below are links to a sampling of the short stories and essays I’ve written. First, a few stories, which are included in Loss of Consciousness:
- Safe University (originally published at Quillette)
- The Meat Grinder
- Loss of Consciousness (the story after which the book is named)
And some selected essays:
- The Josiah Effect: How Moderate Religion Fuels Fundamentalism (also originally published at Quillette)
- Fifteen Things Evangelicals Should Aspire to Understand about Evolution
- Rambow’s Rules for Life
An Atheist Sermon
Finally, below is a sermon I delivered at Emerson Unitarian Church in Houston, TX, in 2019. In it, I tell the story of how I became a fundamentalist Christian, went to China as a missionary, and eventually stopped believing in Jesus, the Bible, and God. But the main idea of the sermon is that I was finally able to find peace after losing my faith. Specifically, I finally found satisfying answers (without God) to my deepest questions: Where do I find meaning and purpose in life? And how am I to live a good life?