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Agnostic Testimony 10
From a seed of doubt

Joseph McCain

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I was born in a Christian household.  We went to church regularly, said a prayer before eating on Thanksgiving and Christmas, etc.  We didn't make a huge deal about religion, but we all believed.  I enjoyed the childhood that most people raised Christian had, the nice perfect knowledge that god is watching us, he loves us, and when we die we go to heaven.  Perfect and unquestionable.

When I was around twelve my parents were upset with my brother because his best friend was an atheist.  This was literally the first time I had ever heard that term.  I asked my brother what it meant and he said an atheist is someone who doesn't believe in god and doesn't think anything special happens when we die.

Do you remember the old TV show Herman's Head?  It was a show about a guy named Herman and it would frequently go inside his "head" where 4 people were in charge of his actions.  If I remember correctly they were lust, emotion, ambition, and timidness.  At the moment I heard the idea that god might not exist, my little intelligence guy inside my head started trying to grab the steering wheel of faith away from my little emotional guy.  Logically, atheism fit.  There were no bolts of lighting smiting mine foes, no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow of hardships, just random events that may or may not seem to reward good or evil actions.

For the next ten years, I struggled with myself.  I felt there was a god, but I didn't think there was one.  I read the bible for myself, hoping I would find something in it that would shut my brain up.  When I discovered that the religion described in the bible was nothing like the religion being practiced in churches around the world, I held my faith.  But these bursts of faith were fragile, my mind was beating my "heart" and I hated every second of it.  I prayed to god in tears begging him to forgive me for not being able to believe in him.

After finishing the bible, and still doubting, I started developing theories that proved the existence of god (flawed theories, but theories nonetheless).  One I held onto was all events are a chain of cause and effect and all causes are the effects of something else.  This created a chain of cause and effect had to extend backwards through time infinitely.  If this is the case, then this chain had to have crossed an infinite distance to reach the present and since crossing an infinite distance is impossible, something impossible had to happen at some point in the universe.  That impossibility had to be an omnipotent entity. Theories like these would sustain my faith for a few months, but doubting always returned.

At the age of 22, 10 years after the seed of doubt had been planted, my mind was exhausted from not only trying to support a religion I didn't really think was true, but also from living a life of lies I'd been building up in my social life.  (The short version is I willingly sacrificed aspects of myself in order to impress someone.)  I decided I would never again be something I wasn't.  I would be honest with myself in all things.  From all my time thinking up ways to keep myself a Christian, I'd learned that the possibility of a god could not be denied, but it seemed having any thoughts beyond that were leaps of faith, so I decided I'd leave it at that.  A good friend of mine told me that was the essence of Agnosticism.

I am now 26 and I can say with all honesty that the past 4 years of my life have been the best.  I use my mind instead of fighting it and I can't help but laugh at the fact that by embracing a life of uncertainty, I am free from my own feelings of uncertainty.