I just had a great interview experience on the Atheist Pastor Podcast. I talked about my experience as an evangelical missionary in China, my eventual loss of faith, my book Confessions of a Rogue Missionary, and the destructiveness of tribalism in American politics. Check it out:
Follow Chris Atlee (Atheist Pastor) on Twitter at @atheist_pastor.
As a National Merit Scholar majoring in physics and math at Rice University, Henry Rambow thought of himself as 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 sect of evangelical Christianity. Confessions of a Rogue Missionary is an account of his ensuing struggle—and eventual failure—to reconcile his faith with reason.
At times dryly humorous and at times sober and contemplative, the story is set in motion when Henry is “born again.” Brimming with newfound zeal—but plagued by doubt from the very beginning—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 a series of 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.
From 2005 to 2007, I worked as an editor and English teacher at the Institute of Semiconductors, which is a branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. During that time, I edited hundreds upon hundreds of papers that were written by Chinese graduate students who wanted to have their work published in international journals. As I corrected their writing, I kept track of the most common errors that native Chinese speakers make when they write in English, and at the end of my time there I compiled all of my observations into a book: Scientific Writing for Chinese Researchers.
For a long time, I was reluctant to share this with people in America because I felt that the book was only appropriate for graduate students in China. I recently went back and read through it, though, and I’ve changed my mind. Many of the principles are appropriate for anyone who wants to write a paper, and the parts that are specifically for Chinese students will probably be very useful to Chinese graduate students here in America.