It was a long time coming.
In Christian school I never really took religion seriously. All that prayer for things that never seemed to happen just didn't add up. God never talked to me and I never felt any sensations of his presence. But everybody else did, or so they said, so I went along with it. I felt emotions, for sure, but nothing that was obviously other-worldly. Like every youngster, I wanted to be accepted.
Later in my early 20's I really wanted to believe and re-dedicated my life to Jesus, praying fervently for various things, including the gift of speaking in tongues, but it never happened. In my 30's I joined a church that believed in healing and miracles, and there seemed to be biblical reason for the belief, so I kept praying.
I must not have had even the faith of a mustard seed because I never did speak in tongues. A lot of other prayers went unanswered, too, including fervent prayers from the very faithful. Prayers like "We ask for your healing power on so and so" was a common refrain in one part of worship. Yet, just as often as not, the person stayed sick or died from the ailment.
It just didn't add up.
When my wife, a far more faithful sort than I, wound up falling and ended up in a coma. We prayed. Lots of people prayed. I had never prayed with such vigor. Sort of like "God, *this* would be the time to show me your presence."
She died anyway.
Interestingly, I wasn't angry at God, it was just one very powerful note to add among the others that reinforced the fact that prayer is just so much speaking to the ceiling. I went thinking, yet again, that "Wow, this really doesn't add up."
I'd been subscribing to Answers In Genesis in an effort to reconcile all the contradiction that religion had with science. I've always been fascinated by what scientists, using the scientific method, have been able to ferret out from our surroundings. Yet I wasn't allowed to believe in one of its fundamental concepts in biology: evolution. Thus the AIG magazine subscription. I still wanted to believe, I wanted it to add up, to be logical but was having serious doubts.
After my Church's paster died in a restaurant in spite of prayers from some of his close faithful. One more nail in my coffin of blind faith. But I still clung to the improbability of evolution. That is until I was challenged by a friend who suggested checking into some interesting evidence. It wasn't hard by this point, and I took a look.
Wow! I couldn't believe what I found. That there is no dispute, absolutely none, that evolution explains Speciation. Science considers evolution to be about the same strength as gravity and there is, in fact, no debate among real scientists. Real being those whose world view isn't constrained by a religious text.
That made my de-conversion complete. I'm disappointed at being duped by the fantasy for so long, but figure that I'm one of the lucky ones. My social network had already changed quite a bit to be people outside the church.
Now I feel free. It's like having blinders removed, I'm free to look at what the evidence suggests rather than confined to what some religious zealout says it suggests. I'm free to think, to consider all views on their merits rather than their religious implications. Is so refreshing.
Free at last.
Thanks to the guy who finally challenged my lingering belief and put me on the road to thinking for myself. I can only hope to help free others, too.