What this new perspective on faith left me with, was an insatiable desire to read as much as I can on the evidence for God. And, with any honest investigation, I had to look at the claims that both sides were making. So, I read through Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Carl Sagan; as well as, Normal Geisler, Ray Comfort, and C.S. Lewis. I amped up my podcast listening with Reasonable Doubts, Reasonable Faith, and the Atheist Experience. I would download debates between atheists and Christians.
For the record, debates are useless. In a debate, all that matters is that someone wins. The debates that I listened to were mostly poor on actual facts. But, the worst part was that the speakers didn’t usually address the questions posed by the other. They read from their own script. My recommendation for anyone that is looking into these questions of faith, skip the debates.
After a year of this, I finally had to admit to myself, that I could not find any reasonable evidence for the existence of God. At best, I could chalk up all of my belief in God to wishful thinking. I don’t mean to treat this part of my discovery nonchalantly. I wanted to believe. I really did. But, deep down, I realized that I was wishing that a God was really there. I, finally, quit wishing for a God when I admitted to myself, that I was no longer convinced there was a God. And, when I openly explored that thought in my own head, I was a bit scared.
Who wouldn’t be? I was told my whole life that those that question God are morally depraved. “A fool says in his heart there is no God”. I knew the Bible. Paul, in the book of Romans, says that man knows there is a God, but chose “darkness” rather than light. Is that what I was doing? No. I want to believe. I remember Mulder’s poster from X-files, “I want to believe” Bold face type across the top of a poster of an “UFO”. That was me, wanting to believe something when every possibility of evidence was stripped away.
As much as I wanted to believe that there was a God, I just couldn’t force myself to really believe it anymore. Just like losing my faith in Santa or the Easter Bunny, God now seemed fictional. For a time, I was mad. I mean really mad. I was lied to. I was deceived. I was mad that I was told God had a purpose for my life. God wouldn’t give me more than I could handle. I was mad that the whole time I was debating my atheist friends in the army, I looked like an idiot. Even more, I was mad at my whole life. No one, that was in authority over me, ever told me to question this religious belief. Someone had to know. Think about it, no one in my entire childhood ever questioned it? Come on, that’s BS. I was mad that there was no God guiding my life. I was mad that there was no afterlife … no heaven, nothing. When you die, you just die. That’s crap. I lived my whole life thinking I was going to Heaven. All of these things made me mad, but the worst thing of all was that I knew I couldn’t talk to Laura, my own wife, about this without upsetting her. I was completely destroyed inside, and I had to keep it to myself.
Where that left me, was someone who was frustrated, angry, depressed, and completely alone. I felt that I couldn’t talk to anyone I knew about this until I talked to Laura. If I were to talk to my friends about this, I thought it would have been a bit of a betrayal to Laura, and I wasn’t ready to talk to her about it. So, I couldn’t talk to anybody.