Yes, the verb tense is a not-so-subtle hint.
My first post contains a brief summary of my conversion experience (“Background”). After that, I can think of three main reasons:
I presupposed both God’s existence, and that he had revealed himself to humanity.
I reasoned that either the universe must “just exist”, or [a] god must “just exist”. The god hypothesis (though I wouldn’t have called it that at the time) seemed more intuitive to me – probably as a purported answer to the mystery of human consciousness.
I presupposed that God had revealed himself to mankind, because…?
I had an experience of “The Christian Life” ™.
Only several years ago, a christian told me that there is a “smell” to truth – like when you first open a container of coffee – and that the Bible has that “smell of truth”, that you can just sense it. (A sort of “burning in the bosom”, I suppose.) This resonated with me.
Even from that moment when I was 12, a few weeks before my conversion, when my dad told me about his findings that Catholic teachings don’t align with the Bible, I was operating on that sense of smell. As I said in my first post:
Something about what he was saying just “seemed right” to me…
Shortly thereafter, we started attending an Independent Fundamental church. After a few weeks, Dad and I met with one of the deacons, who presented the gospel to me, so I prayed and got saved.
Naturally, I prayed quite a bit. I read the Bible frequently, and often found it inspirational – or challenging, or convicting. I evangelized when I got the chance, and led a few people to belief in Christ. I even did some street evangelism in college. I sought God’s direction for my life. Sometimes I thought he’d give me the right words to say, whether evangelizing, or supporting a friend. And I chalked those “smelly” experiences (and others) up to the “Holy Spirit’s leading”.
My worldview and the Christian metastory seemed coherent. I don’t think I ever questioned the foundation, or wondered whether it was really true.
I thought what set Christianity apart from other religions (and atheism) was that we had apologetic arguments on our side. In particular:
- Fulfilled prophecy.
- The martyrdom of the apostles.
- Miracles as history.
I can’t say that apologetic arguments had anything to do with my conversion per se, but they surely bolstered my convictions of the truth of Christianity’s claims, and they were factors in my lack of foundational questioning.
My postulation of the possible universal explanations seems like an unjustified narrowing of the set of possibilities. If the universe does have a “first cause”, then who the heck knows what a “universe generator” is like? Or whether it’s sentient, or “benevolent” toward humans, or a singular entity, for that matter.
If someone does figure it out, I suspect it’ll be a cosmologist or astrophysicist. At least the truth should be consistent with their observations.
Proposing a god as the first cause could possibly explain universal origins, but then it doesn’t explain the origin of the god, or why or how such a being “just is”, or is logically “necessary”. This seems like a stalemate, at best.
Presupposing that the (alleged) God had revealed himself to humankind now strikes me as a prideful assumption – as does presuming his personhood – or that he presents as a male, for that matter.
I think there’s some “feel good” theology in the “smell of truth” idea. Besides that, if the foundational beliefs are wrong, then following the smell is liable to take you further away from Truth – not toward it.
So finally I questioned the whole kit and caboodle. And now, after the research that led to my deconversion, I see that there was no empirical or logical basis for my foundational beliefs. Moreover, the Christian metastory is absurd and incoherent. (More to come on this in future posts.)
In short: nope.
In long: more to come.
1. A God who “just is” – like YHWH – “I am”, or “I am the one who is”. Fancy that.