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Growing up, religion was the most important thing in my life.
At least, I wanted it to be, and I tried to make it that way.
Until about halfway through college, I went to church every week—sometimes more than once.
I planned to be a missionary.
I wanted to help other people see things the way I did.
Then something happened that changed all that:
I started asking questions.
One semester, I had to give a speech for a class debate on evolution. Since by then I’d begun to have more in-depth conversations about my faith with people who asked about things I couldn’t quite explain, I decided to argue against evolution. I figured that after researching the subject, I would reassure myself that the bible’s depiction of the beginning of time was the accurate one and that by looking into it more, I’d have plenty of ways to point this out to people in the future.
And, in a way, that is what happened.
I did my research diligently while the opposing side slacked off a bit, and, due to their overconfidence, I won the debate. During this process, I learned a lot of arguments against the theory of evolution, but I learned something else, too.
I learned that I was wrong.
Evolution was probably true, I realized. The bible is not always literally right.
And that was the first step to my corruption.
During the years following that event, my beliefs changed a lot. For one thing, I began looking at the bible differently. If one biblical story could be wrong, I thought, Couldn’t others be wrong, too? Eventually, I decided that a lot of them—Old Testament ones, especially—probably were wrong.
But, I figured (correctly, I think): they didn’t need to be true to be meaningful.
Then something else happened that caused me to question the veracity of the bible even more. My final semester of college, I had to write a long thesis paper in order to graduate with my major in history. Since during my studies I had focused on the Greek and Roman period, I decided I could get away with writing it about the New Testament. So, I did.
But I didn’t make it easy on myself. Instead, I chose several highly controversial passages about the role of women in the church and researched them in depth. At some point during this time, I learned that several of these passages were not present in all of the early biblical manuscripts. And so, after thinking about it for a while, I realized that the New Testament might be flawed as well.
Then, I graduated. Then, I lived in China for a while and because of that, for the first time in my life, I stopped going to church.
It was an easy habit to break.
My corruption continued.