Before I go any further with my personal story I just want to pause, and reflect a little, on a few of the emotional dynamics that are involved in a de-conversion experience. It would have been all too convenient for me to turn my back on further investigation, especially after reading John Loftus' book, since my whole world was (and is!) inexorably tied to Christianity. Sure, I was starting to supsect that Christianity might be untrue, in terms of its factual claims, but what would this mean if it were so? Could I really just walk away from being a Christian?? How?!?
For one, every member of my family, on both sides, is a "born again" Christian...even up to and including my aunts/uncles, & first cousins etc. I mean everybody. And this isn't to mention my work situation, plus nearly all of my friends and acquaintances (also Christian).
I decided, rightly or wrongly, that these issues (of life, death, the meaning of life...) were just too important to leave alone. I HAD to know, come what may, if Christianity was true or if it wasn't. Mind you, I'm keenly aware of the fact that not everyone feels this way, at least initially.
My wife, who stunned me recently by annoucing that she too is no longer a Christian, took a de-conversion path that was dramatically different from my own. I remember asking her one time, while she was still a believer, "If Christianity were indeed false (hypothetically speaking, of course!), would you want to know?". Her answer was an unflinching "no", absolutely not, she would not want to know. This took me back a little, at first, but it did help me to better understand why she didn't seem interested in discussing the various issues (pro/con Christianity) that were so enveloping my world. She most emphatically didn't want to read any books about them either!
By her own admission one of the reasons, for this reticence, lay in the fact that she wasn't prepared to even entertain the possibility of not one day seeing her grandmother again, in heaven. If there really is no afterlife, you see, she just didn't want any part of the "arguments" or "evidence" that might convince her of that fact. We later came to jokingly refer to this as taking the "ostrich approach" (just stick your head in the sand so you don't have to face the arguments)...it also helps if you put your fingers in your ears, and say "la la la la, I can't hear you, I can't hear you...".
There are two points I'd like to make here...firstly, how frequently are atheists arguing with Christians (both on the internet and in person) who are not even prepared to genuinely consider the possibility that Christianity might be false? I think this is much more common than we realize. The factors that hold someone to Christianity are both conscious and subconscious, and these factors are HUGE in their scope, complexity, impact etc.
Secondly, for any Christians who might happen to stumble onto this blog, I simply want to ask you the same question I asked my wife, "If Christianity were indeed false, would you want to know?". Be careful, please don't answer too quickly here. You need to permit yourself to imagine that you've become completely convinced of this, and then think through the implications step by step. For example, would you tell your parents? Right away, or later on? Your friends? Would you stop going to church (right away, or later on)? How might this impact other areas of your life? Remember, you might be able to fool other people (into thinking you're an honest seeker after truth) but you and you alone are the one who loses if it's not really the case.
Should your answer to this question be "no", than you need to walk away unless/until that changes, but if your answer is "yes", than you owe it to yourself to read some of the best skeptical material on the market today. (The stuff recommended by atheists, not your fellow Christians) If you have never done this, than how can you be confident in the truth of Christianity?