This probably should have gone in my testimonial back when I first signed up for this website, but a lot of what I'm going to write about are things that I did not remember until I meditated on my past as a Christian. Through this meditation I have realized one important thing: I could never have been Christian for long. If I hadn't deconverted in the past year, like in reality, then I would have deconverted eventually. Throughout my life, I've slowly become less and less Christian in my viewpoint of the world and more and more atheistic. But of course, this was bound to happen.
From an early age, about 6-10 years old, I loved to read mystery novels. In retrospect, I think that this habit of mine was the main tool in constructing how I think about, well, everything. In mystery novels you can't completely trust anything outside of solid evidence, like fingerprints or a bloody knife. Unfortunately for Christianity, this view of the world is at complete opposition to its teachings.
When I think back on my Christian youth, I realize that the way I saw things was almost always in opposition to what my Sunday school teachers and pastors were trying to teach me. Here are a few examples:
- When I was about nine or ten, I got into an argument with another kid in Sunday school about how the trinity didn't make sense to me. I was convinced that Jesus and God had to be two separate people. I mean, how else would the story of Jesus make any sense? If Jesus was God, then what would the point be in sacrificing himself to himself? Not to mention the fact that God could do whatever he wanted. Why couldn't he just forgive people? I remember the Sunday school teacher coming to us and siding with the other kid, who had been arguing the typical Christian response, and I ended up just trying to not think about it so much.
- When I was in fifth grade (about 11 years old) I learned about how people could only be saved through believing in Jesus's death and resurrection. I remember the thoughts I had immediately after learning this: "But wouldn't it be reasonable to not believe? I mean, why would someone just believe me if I told them? Why should people take my, or the Bible's, word for it?" At this point I basically became on of those, "everyone finds their own way" type of Christian.
- By my freshman year of high school, I adopted a Pascal's Wager type of faith, though I did not know that it was called this at the time. Basically, I didn't really believe in the Bible and its God, but I may as well try just in case. Not coincidentally, this was the same year in which I went to Biology class and learned of evolution. I got an A+ in Biology.
- In my sophomore year of high school, I remember having a bible study in which we talked about the uses of prayer. What was the gist of the discussion? There was no use of prayer. At least, that's what I got out of the whole bible study. I'm surprised to find that I'm the only one, out of all of the people there, who realized this. Now, the youth leader kept dancing around this concept, but he never outright said it. It seemed to me that his conclusion was different from mine, but I couldn't figure out how it was different. Perhaps we just had different opinions on what constitutes "use"?
- Also during my sophomore year, during my last church retreat, my group talked about using the Lord's name in vain. I thought the whole conversation was stupid. Why should God care if I say "Oh my God!"? How petty! This was the last church event I ever went to. I even told some of my friends how stupid I thought the whole situation was.
- And again, during my sophomore year, my sister-in-law bought me The Case For a Creator. This book didn't sit well with me at all, but I couldn't understand why... I think I had, as I am somewhat ashamed to say, a sort of "faith" in science. I couldn't believe that scientists wouldn't revise a broken theory. There had to be an explanation. Of course, there was, but my reasons for believing so weren't good, at least in my opinion.
Now, I kept my Pascal's Wager type of belief until early my Junior year, when I did a Physics project on, you guessed it, Pascal. When I learned what the opposing viewpoint to his wager was, I realized that I couldn't keep lying to myself. I was an atheist and had been too stubborn, and perhaps scared, to admit it.