my deconversion story. For the other pieces of the story, click the "Crumbling Faith" tag.
Throughout the ten year relationship with my wife, we were friends. We had started as friends at work, at a restaurant while I was finishing high school. We had progressed to being friends with an attraction to one another. We got married. While my attraction for her only weakened slightly, it appeared as though her attraction for me decayed faster than Beryllium-8. But we managed. We were friends, after all. I never strayed.
At the risk of sounding cliché, I think we had married too young, because I certainly didn't know what I needed in a life partner at that time. So as we continued on together, it seemed that we grew farther apart. We remained friends, but by the end we were like friends at work again. Yet there was a final straw. I am being purposely vague here, as I'm sure that telling my side of the story would have me appear to be a perfect husband when I am equally sure that that is not the case, but, suffice it to say, some things transpired which should never transpire in a marriage. So I pushed the separation.
With the separation, and while the divorce proceedings resolved, I decided to abstain from romantic relationships for a year. I wanted to give myself some time to establish who I really was, and wanted to make sure my judgement was not clouded; make sure I avoided a "rebound" relationship. It turns out that I am still figuring out who I am, but, hey, life is like that. :-)
Anyway, living alone and abstaining from romantic relationships left me with a lot of time on my hands. Early on, as I was sifting through the boxes of my stuff, I came across the notebook where I had jotted down thoughts about the Bible when I had started reading it so many years ago. I had never finished. I had never even made it past Leviticus. So there I was with time on my hands and an unfinished task. It was a match made in heaven. ;-)
I remember how I felt at that time. I was skeptical. I hadn't really gone to church much at all in the past ten years. I hadn't felt any divine presence. I hadn't seen any miracles.
But I was hopeful. I believed, weakly. So many people around me, including my family, believed with conviction. Even more importantly though, with eternal consequences on the line, and the potential reward being so great, I wanted to have a strong faith.
With my feeble, tenuous faith (decimated by the lack of divine interaction as a teen, and withered through the subsequent years of malnourishment), I picked up the Bible again. Skeptically hopeful. Starting with Genesis, chapter one.
By the time I reached the story of the Tower of Babel, my skeptical side was amazed, while my faithful side became ever more desperate. I had started to forget all of the important details of what I had just read, so I started from the beginning again; this time writing summaries for each chapter.
(I tried to only summarize what exactly was written, while keeping my skeptical comments separate. Those summaries I would eventually share so that anyone could read the story of the Bible quickly.)
For my skeptical side, it seemed like the evidence against faith added up steadily and consistently as I continued to read the Bible. As I enter into studying the New Testament now, that trend has not changed.
For my faithful side, the losses came in discreet blows. Passages like the near-sacrifice of Isaac, the passages which seemed to boldly contradict everything I had ever been told about God, evoked a deep, visceral reaction as if my very soul had been stabbed. Observing how God enacted a world-wide famine to result in the enslavement of the Israelites just so that He could free them 400 years later... Seeing God almost take the life of a baby due to the matter of circumcision... Reading how God toyed with the Egyptians, manipulating the free will of the Pharaoh, just so that He could provide a grand spectacle... Etc... Etc...
My soul died. Hemorrhaging from so many shattered beliefs, it could not survive. My desire for it to live, alone, was not enough to preserve it.
I thought back to my teen years, when I had picked up the Bible and had read some of those very same passages. They had seemed odd to me back then, but not wrong. Not abhorrently, morally wrong. Why? I'm not sure. It could be that back then I thought that God was my friend. Every good friend has faults you are able to overlook in the name of love.