sent in by Jeff
I'm almost embarrassed at how dull this will be, but here goes:
I was baptized into a Lutheran family. I don't remember much about the first couple of churches, but my father liked the pastors at a Missouri Synod franchise in Ames, Iowa. Since this church was on a university campus, it was more liberal than most LCMS churches. It was mind-numbingly dull. All of it. Vacation Bible School (I don't know why they call it that, it's no vacation), Sunday school, all churchly activities.
My parents encouraged to me question and think for myself. My father is a scientist, who understands that evolution is a fact. I found out that the pastors and other members did not accept something so obvious. If my dad knows this is true, what the hell is wrong with these people?
I learned that there were other religions, and read about them. They really didn't seem so bad, and could not understand how God could send people to hell simply because they believed what they were taught to believe.
So I went on searching, becoming enamored with the occult and mysticism. That was clearly a fraud, but I did study religion and philosophy still seeking the truth. My dad forced me to go to church, until I took Lutheran Theology. After that, he did not force me to go. During this time, and after I got my B.A. in religion & philosophy, I was in a deep depression. It lasted for years.
I had let go of Christianity completely, but still hung on to a vague theism. Things just got worse in my personal life.
I was washing dishes by hand one night (the dishwasher died), and it dawned on me: There… is…. no…. God! No help but from what I do. My friends have actually loved and helped me here, in reality, unlike the imaginary friend I once wasted so much time on.
I am so very happy now. My wife says I became much more pleasant to live with after that.
I hope this made sense—I left some chunks out, but basically this is what happened.
Joined: From birth
Left: Began questioning at 13, completely out by 18
Was: Lutheran, then vague searcher, atheist
Converted: Baptized into it, and then raised in it.
De-converted: Started leaving because "love" and "hell" just don't mix.
email: jeffa93 at yahoo dot com