Thursday, November 14, 2013

Pastor David Responds: Part 2 - My Conversion is Just as Awesome

I began answering Pastor David Nicholes latest letter to me here. Now, I'll jump right in to his next paragraph.
Alas, the providence of God--my brother and I went to a huge beer blast in a college town (Athens, Ohio).  There, of all places, I met a friend with whom I played lots of baseball while we were growing up in Cleveland Ohio.  We were both good pitchers and had much mutual respect for each other with reference to baseball.  I was in a sports bar in Athens Ohio and in he came, not expecting to see me, but when he saw me he commenced at once to tell me of his new found faith.  He apparently had just become a believer and was excited to tell me about it.  I was quite surprised and a kind of spiritual conviction seized on me.  I didn't understand what he was trying to say except for the fact that God was real, that God apparently was personal, and that I should learn more about what knowing God means.  The next 18 months were full of remarkable experiences as I sought to make reforms of sorts--groping after God.  I won't try to recount these for you now.  Suffice it to say God wonderfully took the veil away so that I clearly understood that God saves people--even me--on the basis of pure grace, without any meritorious works whatsoever.  In May of 1977 something really wonderful happened, God brought me to life.  I could feel it, my desires changed, I changed.
David, let me tell you a story. Usually, at this point, an ex-Christian will tell you how awesome a Christian they were. Not in a self-aggrandizing manner, but simply to combat your definition of a True Christian. I'm not interested in that approach. The merits of my Christianity can stand on their own and I don't really care if my brand didn't or doesn't fit your "absolute truth". Instead, I'm going to tell you about my conversion - or de-conversion, if you will.

In the winter of 2010, my son died three times in the hospital. He stopped breathing from whooping cough. He hadn't been vaccinated because we didn't believe in vaccinations at the time. Neither did anyone at the church we were attending - my childhood church. The "world" was not to be trusted and vaccinations were an integral part of that "world". 

I watched my son waste away, throwing up all food and drink for weeks. He coughed throughout the night, and, as I mentioned before, was hospitalized several times, even stopping breathing. I watched in horror, hoping beyond all hope, that years later, I would remember this as a terrible distant memory. At that time, I was thinking about the current events as if it was par for the course, my faith was being tested, and I would be made stronger for it.

But then something clicked in my head.

There were millions, nay, BILLIONS of people who didn't get whooping cough. Even the families at my church who had a few of their kids inoculated with the DTAP shot when they stepped on a rusty nail didn't get whooping cough when it swept through the church. And here I was, watching my son die, right before my very eyes, because of fear.

Fear of what!? Fear of the unknown? I don't know a lot of things. But that shouldn't make me run from them. What I needed was education about these "worldly" things, in order to see WHY the rest of humanity didn't suffer from whooping cough, and yet was not inherently evil.

So I studied vaccines. And I found that I had been lied to. And lied to - a lot. So I kept going. I didn't only study vaccines, I studied everything.  I learned about homosexuals. I learned about abortion. I learned that there were thousands of viewpoints for every single issue known to man. And yet I had been taught all my life, that life was black and white.

I looked at God. I saw a paradox. A paradox of good and evil. The good was irreconcilable from the bad. And I decided that it was acceptable - for a while. Then I dropped that as quickly as I grasped it. I kept going. I noticed many flaws in God's character. I began to look at the Bible through the eyes of the people that were killed or affected by God's chosen nation, Israel. And I saw pain. I saw hurt. I saw death, undeserved. I saw women with their bellies split open if they were pregnant. I saw children, stabbed through the heart by a sword, crudely crafted by a nomadic people. I saw shock on the faces of those that were being attacked by an army and killed for just living. I saw a woman carrying water to a well, kidnapped, and made to live in an upper room, ashes on her head, dressed in a gunny sack. Then, after 30 days, she was raped for the rest of her life by her captor, who prayed his thanks to his god for providing him a hole to stick his penis into.

I saw all these things. Previously, I had only seen a people, Israel, blessed by God, wholly in the right to kill all those in their way. And I read it just like I was supposed to read it - a description of a holy and just god. I read it just like you David. 

But I couldn't anymore. People are people. One army is not blessed above a civil society, just because they have an angrier god, or whatever petty reason the attackers have to kill the victims.

So I left that religion. I moved into freedom. I was free. I no longer had to go to church. I no longer had to spiritually lead my family. I no longer had to tell my kids stupid stories that made no sense. Life finally had real meaning. I was never happier. NEVER happier.

Part 3 - Where He Sticks His Foot in His Mouth


  1. That was beautifully written. An engaging read throughout.

    I'm really sorry about your son. I hope things have gotten better for you since your moment of clarity!

    1. My son lived and is healthy today! It IS a dark memory, but moving forward has been awesome.