My journey into Deism has been difficult. Having grown-up in a Christian home, I was taught not to question our beliefs. The problem I had was trying to find answers to many nagging questions. Two of the biggest questions in my mind were: 1. How could a good and loving God sentence his own fragile creatures to an eternity in hell without giving them ample warning or opportunity to know the "truth"? 2. How to explain the incredible miracles that my Sunday School teachers taught with bland, matter-of-fact certainty?
To make matters worse, I have an insatiable desire to find out every conceivable detail of every bit of information that crosses my path. This desire is what ultimately led me to attend seminary, where I was sure I would find satisfactory answers. Then I would be sufficiently "equipped" to dispense the corresponding doctrine to whomever would listen, as well as, many who would not. In the process of absorbing what I was being taught, I became firmly entrenched in Fundamentalism of all places. It turned out that the absolute certainty that was portrayed within the ranks of most of these organizations suited my personality just fine. Over the course of more than 15 years I wrestled with the concept of absolute truth, and the cop-out that if we didn't understand something, then we could chalk it up to a mystery that only God knew. Couple that with the constant admission that we are all as insignificant as worms and you can see the effectiveness of the mentality. The Bible was the ultimate authority and if some teaching didn't make sense then our own understanding must be deficient.
My big break came after I had my last falling-out with a fundamentalist pastor. It was my second such incident and it further hardened my resolve to "know the truth". It was then that I was listening to a Christian radio program about creation vs. evolution and the host of the program suggested further research on the subject, specifically regarding the views of some atheists. I dutifully went to the internet site that he had broadcast over the airwaves. It seemed to be the premier venue for the anti-god movement in America. The first thing I noticed on the website was a quiz (of course); so I immediately took the quiz and was quite satisfied with my score! What alarmed me was the nature of the answers. All were very well documented from their source- the Bible. Many depicted the extremely awful actions and events perpetrated in the name of God and by his chosen people!
Thus began my first genuine search for the truth; no more preconceived notions or contortions to make the evidence fit the way I needed it to fit. I resolved to let the evidence speak for itself and lead me wherever I ought to go. All the old questions suddenly resurfaced with a vengeance. I would make no excuses for God because he should not need to be excused. If God can't explain himself any better than that...
For many months I searched and researched as much information as I could find. Most authors were vehemently anti-God and I soon grew tired of their tirades. Some good did come from these initial forays into the "godless" world I had avoided for most of my life. I marveled at the plethora of alternate, yet viable philosophies that this world had to offer. Enter Deism. Perhaps the most amazing thing I discovered was the connection to this relatively unknown belief system in our own country's history. Of course, I had always been taught that our founding fathers were mostly Christian and wanted to create a Christian nation. While I only partially believed this to be the case, it had fit well with my Christian beliefs and lifestyle and didn't seem to be too dishonest or harmful. But I had also been taught that there were no "little white lies". Truth was supposed to be black and white with no gray areas. One of my biggest pet-peeves is when a lie is used to cover up an obvious discrepancy. History has quickly become one of my favorite subjects. One of the biggest problems in church today is ignorance. Ignorance, not only of our own society, but of what they supposedly believe. Most church-goers know very little about the Bible or what their church actually believes about it. Whenever I raise questions about the authenticity of the Bible and the discrepancies in its pages, I get double-speak and rash generalities, but no real answers. If one claims to believe in the Bible then they ought to know more than "Jesus saves". But they appear to be afraid to go any deeper lest their "paradise" come crumbling down.
That is why I have embraced Deism. That is why my faith is in a God who truly loves all of his creatures and will not stoop to fear and guilt as ploys to gain a following. When I look back through the Bible, as well as my previous beliefs in it, I find many good teachings which I still believe to beneficial for myself and for society. I choose to accept that which is truly good and reject the things that are morally reprehensible and unfitting for an all-powerful, all-knowing deity. My goal in life is to spread the good news that God is not out to fry the world and we all can be responsible citizens just by reaching inside and letting goodness flow out of a heart that is open and sincere. To that end I am writing a book about my experiences that I hope will contribute to the welfare of countless souls in search of truth. I choose to believe in a God who created us for a noble purpose and does not require blind faith in his creatures.
Perhaps the hardest part of this journey has been the response of my family. My parents and siblings have not been understanding of my change of heart. But even worse has been the difficulty of my wife accepting the change. She does not really understand where I am, and I am afraid that she is one who does truly understand the Bible and what belief in it really means. She seems to want to try to accept what I am saying, but ultimately she is afraid to take a chance, afraid that she will be wrong. What I truly want for her, and for all religious people to understand, is that there is no God waiting to condemn them to hell, but a God of love, willing only to give them freedom and peace of mind.