Having grown up in a good Christian home and now blundering my way through adulthood, marriage and parenting, I have happened upon several points in my life when I became aware that I don’t believe what I once did. Belief is a funny thing like that. One day it just dawns on you, “I don’t believe that anymore.” I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this. Having inherited whatever matrix of values and concerns growing up, whether explicitly religious or not, we, at various points, emerging into adulthood, find ourselves reflecting on and navigating through what we have inherited (and continue to inherit). Then one day, it happens. We realize that something we once thought was good and true just doesn’t fit anymore.
There has been a lot of movement on that front for me – a lot of those moments over and over again. Since my late teenage years, I have attempted to consistently reflect critically about big questions. A lot of conversations, thinking, reading, and living later… I’m to a place today that I can say I am an atheist with respect to the God I grew up with. That’s not to say that I don’t believe in God. I do. But with respect to the God that I believed in as a 19 year-old, I’m convinced that God does not exist.
I don’t mean to say that my thoughts about God have just changed significantly. No, so radical has this movement been for me, that the God I once believed in looks nothing like the God I know today. If the God I once believed in were the only God I could believe in, I surely could not.
Blame it on persistent curiosity or a pernicious need to try to sort things out, I don’t know, but I do know that the God I once believed in, I can no longer abide. I’m still as much of a Christ-follower as I ever have been, but the God that I now believe Jesus reveals is not the God I once believed in.