It was about this time when I tried my hand in the stock market for the second time in my life. I had been unjustly fired from my previous employer and had already been studying the market before getting the boot. I spent the next year taking online course work in the stock market and losing my ass in online trading. I continued to seek God's wisdom and favor as I made trading decisions. My mother had told me about a woman who prayed before each stock trade and made a ton of money doing it. As usual, there seemed to be no divine intervention from the Lord. Yet, I never became bitter toward God for not helping; I just continued to try to be the best Christian I could be.
It was also about this time that my long held beliefs were really put to the test. I was searching Facebook for long lost pals and came across Mike Doolittle's profile. It was unmistakably the same fair skinned, blonde haired guy that I met some 19 years earlier. I asked for his hand in Facebook friendship, and he soon obliged. But there was something wrong with this Mike Doolittle. He kept making post after post and comment after comment of anti-Christian rhetoric or had the audacity to display scientific related materials discussing evidence that contradicted some of my most cherished beliefs. Just about anytime I put something up regarding my belief in Christ, he would challenge me in some way. For a time, I actually blocked this guy from my facebook. I can't remember exactly why I eventually unblocked him, but I think it was because I wanted to confront him. It wasn't long before I decided to go toe to toe with this non-conformist in a showdown at the virtual O.K. Corral. Armed with materials from my favorite apologists and theologians and wanting to be the best Christian possible, I vehemently argued my case against such topics as evolution and God's morality.
Speaking of evolution, as a bit of an aside, I never believed in it nor was I properly educated on the subject. Even in college, the subject just never came up. I never thought about it enough to even know what I thought about it. In short, I just believed whatever Hank Hannegraff or Norm Geisler said on the subject. It was just a lie and full of misinformation.
Needless to say, I soon realized that Mike was telling the honest to god's truth. There was a wealth of evidence confirming evolution as a fact. Scientists almost unanimously agree that evolution is the best explanation for the diversity of species and the progress of our own. It's awfully hard to continue to side with the fundamental Christianity I was used to when they are at odds with the scientific literature. Not being raised as a moderate or liberal Christian, I didn't have the convenience of accepting evolution while discarding the story of Genesis as a metaphor.
Mike pointed me to books and online articles discussing the latest research in evolution from--this is a shocker--real scientists. We also discussed some of the theories on astrophysics and origins of the universe. I quickly defined myself as a young earth creationist (YEC) as it aligned with the literal interpretation of Genesis. I honestly had never heard of the term before, but Mike laid it out for me. This was all well beyond me, but I sure just wanted to say that God took care of it all and leave it at that. Mike wouldn't let me get off that easy. Being far more advanced in the topic than I, he explained scientific theory and plausible hypotheses regarding the universe which don't necessitate a creator. We went over big bang theory, string theory, multiverse theory and many others. As the A-Unicornist often quips, the only thing worse than a god that doesn't exist is a god that might as well not exist.
But Mike really put the nail in the coffin when we started talking about God's moral behaviors. The O.T. had bothered me before but nothing that Lee Strobel couldn't fix. After all, God was doing neighboring nations a favor when he demanded the death of children. They got the automatic ticket to the greatest show on earth, heaven. We can't all be so lucky. As for the doctrine of hell, it was our own fault for going, and we chose hell over heaven by rejecting our savior. We were going exactly where we wanted and asked to go.
Needless to say, Mike opened my eyes to the brutality involved in all of that. We have a god, full of omnisicience, that still creates beings he knows with foresight will be eternally separated and punished for lacking belief and living apart from this taskmaster's own desires.
As far as the OT goes, Mike helped me realize that a secular morality was superior to God's. I vividly remember watching The Stoning of Soraya M. and that was the final straw. I could no longer worship a god with such a capricious and cruel nature. Even if he was real, I wanted little to do with such a beast. As the saying goes, if you can't beat em', join em'. I raised the white flag and surrendered to an insurmountable amount of evidence in favor of evolution, against YEC and impressive moral arguments confirming secular morality's superiority.
I humbly ask that you stay tuned for the next installment as I discuss what being a baby atheist is like. I say baby because it's quite similar. I found myself soaking up information like a sponge and voraciously reading everything I could get my hands on.