My name is Michael R. Morgan, I'm from Northern Ireland. I enjoy your Deism site and information on your Facebook and Twitter pages. I learned a lot since leaving evangelical Christianity after 24 years. Here is my story.
It was in the 1990's when I got interested in evangelical Christianity. I was an impressionable young man at 19 years old growing up in a single parent family in Northern Ireland. At that time it was prior to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, and the N. Ireland troubles were still a very real physical danger. Remember the sales pitch 'give me a good reason why you wouldn't be a Christian, for what if you died tonight?' I often thought of this during those troubled times here in N. Ireland. I was frightened, so I accepted it. After this I wanted to know everything about God to ease my deep insecurities. I studied the Bible and attended church up to many times a week. Even started to buy books on the Bible, different translations etc...
Even after that I wanted to preach the Bible. I became knowledgeable about the Bible. At times I couldn't settle on the true meanings of the Bible, so went to different churches as I felt there was something missing. Also at those times I began to ask questions. I remember being told I think too much and that I should rely on God's word rather than on human reason. I remember feeling guilty when I thought a thought that ran contrary to the churche's teachings. I was afraid of being called a heretic and that I could be trafficking with the devil. It's awful being indoctrinated like that. I wanted to be loved, accepted and to be devoted. I remember getting opportunities, and taking them, to preach. I must say I enjoyed it. But I had to keep certain opinions to myself. I remember thinking one day, surely if God wants to be worshipped it must be with a rational thinking mind. Surely that must be what God gave me brains for. Imagine how that went down in a charismatic church.
What caused me to leave evangelical Christianity since I considered it my spiritual home? I felt so much guilt and fear and went through mental and emotional abuses as a result of questioning. I remember being interrogated for four hours in a church room for questioning the doctrine of the Trinity!!!
I also wanted to hold a free and open Bible study upholding freedom of conscience and enquiry. I got in trouble for that. I remember one leader saying freedom of conscience is not in the Bible! I felt in my heart, don't bow down to this leader. He even classed me as a rebel. Looking back he was right.
Things like these coupled with reflecting that at one stage in my life when I was homeless, it was my non-Christian friends who helped me. Situations liked this challenged me. So in the end I had enough. I remember asking God to show me the truth, or do I have to look for another religion, or do I became an Atheist??
I think Providence prevailed. First I needed to break that stronghold over me. The only way to accomplish that was through reason, so I knew I needed something to engage my reason. So one day I typed into an Internet search: deism. I knew the word "deism" as I had seen it in certain Christian books I had read (of course presented in a negative way). What better way if I could find a Deist and ask him. So looked on wikipedia first. Then on amazon.co.uk I got books on Deism. Then found out about the World Union of Deists through a Facebook search. I felt the chains fall off and my mind was free.
I met my neighbour Kitty McCready who encouraged me to further open my mind. She said you can believe in God without religion. I remember my mother Rosina telling me that for years. Providence or what?
Now I'm feeling happier, free to enjoy life and to freely use my reason that God gave me. My neighbour Kitty got me a good Christmas present two years ago, The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine. It was my ticket out of the clutches of N. Irish evangelical Christianity. I'm glad. I leave you with the words of my wise mother: "God gave you brains to think with and feet for dancing with". In the end, my mother told me she is now proud of me. Now I am free, now I am a Deist. Thank you.