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Seven Years Ago

Seven years ago, my great aunt was on her death bed. She was 92 years old. I remember the 5 hour drive to my hometown, hoping to make it in time to say goodbye before she passed.

It was February 2014, and I was still wrestling with my faith. On the fence, I would soon fall over onto the other side — about to call myself an agnostic — a former believer.

During the long car ride, I listened to a variety of debates including one between Christopher Hitchens and John Lennox. The title of that debate was, Is God Great? I was impressed by both men. Both were articulate, intelligent and compelling. I also listened to the debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham on the question “Is Creation A Viable Model of Origins?”. That debate took place in early February, 2014. I remember concluding that Bill Nye was the clear winner and by far, the more logical and reasonable thinker.

I arrived to my great aunt’s house around 9 PM. My mother had been caring for her during her final days, and my aunt passed away shortly after I arrived. The funeral home caretakers came promptly after her passing, and my mom and I then spent several hours talking about a variety of topics well into the night. I did not share with her that my faith was on its own deathbed. I knew that my mother’s faith had grown in her later years, and this was certainly not the time to discuss all of the troubling questions in my mind.

I stayed in town for several days as plans were made for my great aunt’s funeral. It was nice to spend that substantial time with my mom even though the circumstances were less than happy. I also took the opportunity to drive around my hometown and reminisce. When I left to return home, I ended up just thinking and contemplating life during the five hour trip back to Virginia.

Roughly six weeks later, I created this blog to serve as a cathartic outlet about my journey with faith. While I worked to pull my thoughts together on the series I would eventually call My Son Told Me He’s an Atheist, I wrote my first post about John MacArthur’s book called “The Gospel According to Jesus”, which constituted my first profound experience with cognitive dissonance that occurred while reading that book back in the late 1980’s. In a nutshell, I realized that Christians were often deeply divided on the most important part of the whole Bible: what must a person do to be “saved”!  It was a stunning revelation to me at the time. Christians couldn’t even agree on something as basic as repentance.

I am now 55 years old. I feel very fortunate to have received good genes from both my mother and father, who continue to be in good health in their early 70’s. My wife is 49, and she will turn 50 later this year. She’s dreading that birthday. I didn’t mind my 50th birthday, but I remember feeling quite down when I turned 40. “My youth was clearly behind me now!”, I thought. But the big “five O” — not a big deal to me. It’s funny how different birthdays impact us all differently, isn’t it?



1 Comment

  1. Dennis

    Thanks for sharing, young fella. Why it seems like only yesterday that I turned 50. Now I’m right around the corner from 73. Back in the day (’72) I bought Neil’s Harvest album. “Old man, look at my life, I’m a lot like you were.” Now I’m that old man. Still going strong, though. What a long strange trip it’s been!

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