I'm a recently de-converted Catholic Christian, and am so glad to have found this site. I was thinking over recently how I was able to believe for so long, and happened to gain a new perspective while reading one of my favorite story collections, Sherlock Holmes. In one of the stories (I'm paraphrasing here), Holmes and Watson are on their way to a crime scene, and Watson has already conjectured a theory as to the motive for the crime, and who likely committed it. Sherlock, however, admonishes his friend, saying:
"One should never form a theory before one has all the evidence at one's disposal. Otherwise, one begins to twist facts to suit theories, rather than theories to suit facts."
I actually put down the book and marveled at how this perfectly illustrated how I remained a Christian for so long. Since I was born, I was taught in Catholic schools that the truth of Christianity and the Bible was fact, and not open to dispute. So even when in high school doubts and challenges to my faith began to come my way, nothing could make me stop believing. This is because my though process had been warped; rather than look at opposing evidence to Christianity from an independent perspective, I viewed it from the perspective that it must SOMEHOW reconcile with my Christian worldview. How could it not? I convinced myself evolution must be the process by which god creates, rather than evidence against the Genesis story. I convinced myself that stories like Noah's Ark and Jonah and the Whale must simply be metaphors, not evidence of historical fallacies. I know better now, but this, to me, is exactly what Holmes cautions Watson against; twisting facts so that they suit what one already believes, rather than giving them an honest and unbiased analysis. It wasn't until I recently began to question my preconceived theory (that Christianity must be correct) that I was able to assess the true implications of relevant facts, rather than twist them to fit with my established beliefs.
Thankfully, I'm now in a well-esteemed, secular college, and freedom from the conservative, religious heavy-nature of my early life has allowed me to broaden my horizons and reassess my beliefs. After suffering years of religious indoctrination, I am now free from Christianity and happier than I have ever been. Good riddance!
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