I am 17 years old. I have grown up in a moderately devout Christian household, and have gone to the same Baptist church weekly since I was a baby. I like church for the community and the activities. Many people there have played an important part in my life. But I am now secretly and very firmly a Deist.
Looking back from this point in my life I think I can say that I never did fully understand or believe in the religion I was taught. I always from a young age asked the hard questions, and the answers I got never really satisfied me.
I remember vividly the moment when the first real seeds of doubt were planted in my mind. I was about 10 or 11, and I was concerned because I had not “accepted Jesus into my heart “ like I was told one had to do to be a Christian and “free from sin” . So lying awake one night I held my breath and said the prayer, reciting in my head the words that had been taught to me. And NOTHING CHANGED. I was told I would be a different person, I would be completely free, I would feel spiritual satisfaction. I was told this would be my conversion moment, when I suddenly would have a new identity. I felt nothing, and I was exactly the same as I was before. This bothered me, and I wondered for the first time if it was all even real. Though I didn’t know it at the time, my journey into Deism dated from that moment.
Fast forward about two years, I then really began to question the fundamental elements of the religion I knew. I love history, and as I read about different religions, their myths and their culture, their rise and fall, I wondered how only one could be the strict truth and the others through the centuries all lies. Given the similarities in all major religions I reasoned that all must spring from one source, that source being the truth, and how could it possibly be Christianity, which did not emerge until the first century A.D.? It made no sense and left me unsatisfied each time I read about religious history.
Tied closely to that was the question of accessibility of knowledge: why on earth would a benevolent God not make the saving truth of the universe equally discoverable to all people within their own mind and spirit? (as I now know, He has) Why would He merely write the one truth in an obscure book and leave the vast majority of mankind unable or not predisposed to discover it, either by being born before its advent or in a country where it was not taught?
Also, the concept of sin bothered me greatly. I did not see how the tiny insignificant wrongs an average person like me committed could land a person in hell forever unless they bought into a particular escape clause. I was a very good person - why was I considered so inherently evil that I would be sent to perish in hellfire?
The last straw came when I began to wonder about the disconnection between the concepts of Devine Intervention, Free Will, and Predestination. Taken together, those concepts directly contradict each other. For example, if God has predetermined our future before it happens, He has not given us free will. It all becomes a jumble impossible to puzzle out.
I could go on about my doubts, but let it suffice to say that at 13 I became an Atheist. But I was just as unsatisfied with that as I was with Christianity. It felt wrong, like some critical piece of the puzzle was missing. I did not see how there could not be a Creator, a Supreme Being. Everything had to have come from somewhere some point in time. All science and philosophy, all the complexities of nature and humankind seemed to point to the existence of God. It was the simplest, most natural solution to the great mysteries of the universe. I had to make compromises with my Reason to be an Atheist, as I had to be a Christian. But I had no idea then that other options were even available.
I only thought of myself as an Atheist for a brief time, about 3 months at most. I was too convinced of a Creator’s existence to continue. I then had absolutely no clue what I was and it nagged me. I thought I was nothing, thought there was no real place for my particular set of beliefs. That depressed me and made me feel unfulfilled.
About 7-8 months ago I was thinking about my beliefs again, when I remembered hearing about Deism in history. I decided to Google it. That was the best decision of my life. I stumbled across deism.com and began to read the articles, and with joy too profound for words I realized that Deism exactly fit my beliefs in every aspect, even the ones I had never thought about before. It was magical.
I find it ironic that while I had never felt spiritual fulfillment or change in Christianity, which so often claims to give it, I felt it very strongly in discovering Deism, which does not necessarily claim to give it. THIS was my true conversion moment. I remember in that moment just being filled with pure wonder at the great power of God, feeling like a brand new person with a new identity, and feeling oh so free, free in spirit, free to use the Reason God gave me. Waves of powerful emotion washed over me. I cried.
I am very happy in Deism, and I know that I will always be a Deist. I am in constant awe of God’s sheer majesty, now that I see Him as big as He truly is, outside the man made box religion puts him in. I think the way Reason tells me to think, I live a life of constantly asking questions, knowing that I am only a human and will never have all the answers. I serve God by serving His creation. I have finally found myself. I am so proud to be a Deist.