What was your religious background?
#11
I was born into a nominally Protestant family.  I think we might have gone to a total of five or six Sunday services during my entire childhood (and I'm counting my teenage years for that number, too).  Not too surprisingly, I ended up an atheist by about the age of 12.  I vehemently rejected God and became very socially liberal.  I was once a member of the Young Communist League.  Then, when I was about 17 years old, I began experiencing doubts about my beliefs.  There were two aspects to this.  The first was an intellectual aspect.  It wasn't immediately a religious one.  Instead, I rejected the arguments of the pro-abortionist crowd and came to firmly believe that human beings have a right to life from the moment of conception.  This had, in hindsight, a profound effect.  I began to question all of my political, social, and moral beliefs.  I came to appreciate traditional social practices, though it had nothing to do with any kind of divine or transcendent origin.  Rather, I saw it as a matter of trial and error, so that what worked is what became traditional (e.g. marriage between one man and one woman is what works and must be defended).

However, it didn't end there.  Naturally, as I became politically and socially conservative, I resigned my YCL membership and became involved in conservative groups for youth.  Mostly, these groups were filled with Christian conservatives.  Being the oddball atheist conservative is an interesting experience, but it didn't lead to an immediate conversion.  That is where the second aspect came in.  Having radically changed my moral, political, and social views, I also lost the vehemence of my atheism and had a mostly positive assessment of religion at this point.  This opened the way for the emotional aspect of my conversion.  I began experiencing personal crises around this time, very, very horrible for me.  I won't go into the details here but it was soul-crushing and nearly led me to end my life.  However, having made some Christian friends, I eventually began exploring Christianity, with an open mind.  I'll never forget what was a pivotal moment for me.  I observed a debate between a Baptist preacher and an atheist scientist.  Despite being more open to religion by this point, I was expecting the preacher to get creamed.  Instead, the Baptist preacher mopped the floor with the atheist scientist, so much so that the atheist ran off like a coward without finishing the full debate.

It was at this point that I read some works like Lee Stobel's "The Case for Christ" and "The Case for a Creator."  Despite being Protestant books, I am still deeply grateful for them.  I realized that both God existed and Christianity was true.  At this point, it was "mere Christianity" that I had embraced.  With more study, especially thanks to Catholic Answers, I came to accept the Catholic Church was the Church founded by Jesus Christ.  I went through RICA at my local parish and became a Catholic at age 20.  But my journey did not end there.  The RCIA program was what you'd expect from a lay-run program at your average NO parish.  It wasn't 100% horrible but you didn't get the real depth of Catholicism.  There were, to be sure, some heretical elements.  I left with the impression that as long as it wasn't a belief defined as infallible by the pope, I didn't have to accept it.  Obviously, not a good foundation for a real Catholic Faith.  After a few years, I began going through a crisis of faith.  I won't go into detail about specifics but I ended up leaving the Church. I didn't become an atheist again but I wandered about the Protestant sects for a few years.

It was at this time that I finally read some of the works of Ed Feser.  This really strengthened my belief in God, which until then had more a probabilistic acceptance of God's existence.  Since reading Feser's works, I see belief in God as a metaphysical necessity, regardless of what scientific discoveries are made in the future.  But more importantly, Feser's works exposed me to the true intellectual depth of Catholicism, most especially St. Thomas Aquinas.  Still, I wasn't sure about the Church at this point.  Instead, what really served as the clincher was a series of dreams that I began having in the months before I returned to the Church.  I began dreaming, on a regular basis, about driving in the countryside around my tiny hometown.  I'd come upon a Catholic parish and instinctively stop.  I'd walk in and the priest would greet me with "are you here to make your confession?"  These dreams would have a profound emotional effect on me.  I eventually found my way to Fisheaters and the resources here on the traditional Catholic Faith, the only real Catholic Faith, helped me take the final step of returning to the Church.  That was a few years ago.
"For the true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries nor innovators, but traditionalists."
- Pope St. Pius X

"For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine; but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables."
- 2 Timothy 4:3-4

"Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: That all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity."
- 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12
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RE: What was your religious background? - by SeekerofChrist - 02-07-2020, 03:22 PM



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