I was exactly like you when I was 16..
I basically ignored all religion through my entire teens and 20's..
on the rare occasions I did think about it, it was only to think of how wrong it all must be..
for example, I know for a fact that evolution is real and creationism is pure fiction..I still believe that, and always will.
because to me, which is more likely to be true? the entire fossil record of the planet, or a book?
if the planet contradicts the book, which is more likely to be right?
no contest..reality (the planet) is the truth and the book is fiction..no problem.
so it follows that the bible is partly fiction..no problem, I can accept that.
My parents sent my sister and I to Sunday school when we kids..like 4 or 5 years old.
I was never clear why since we never went to church otherwise..
I guess they just wanted us to get a basic underlying feel of our "cultural faith", even if they themselves werent "practicing"..
and other than Sunday school, I had no further religious teaching at all..which suited me fine.
I remember saying, just a few years ago, that "the LACK of religion while growing up was one of the greatest gifts my parents gave to me"
because I felt all superior because I didnt have any religious "baggage"..which presumably made me more "open minded" right?
now..im gratefull my parents gave me just that little nudge of Christian teaching..today I feel like it was a seed that was planted and laid dormant for 30 years..
So now im 36..
im engaged to a wondefull Woman who happens to be a Christian..
it didnt bother me that She was a Christian and I wasnt, because I wasnt actively AGAINST religion in general, I had no real problems with it..it just "wasnt for me."
So Deb always knew I was "a skeptic"..we talked about religion a lot in our early dating years..(we dated 5 years before we got engaged)
So she asked me to read a few books that were written with skeptics in mind.
so I said "sure"! because im open-minded right?
The first book was "The Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel.
its a book that looks at Jesus from the perspective of a skeptic, a historian, an archaeoligist..can we prove Jesus was real and was who he claimed to be by looking at historical evidence alone? good book!
it makes a good case for the reality of Jesus *without* relying on just faith alone..
the second book is excellent! I am really getting a lot out of it.
it is "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis.
(Lewis is best known as the writer of the Narnia Chronicles, he was a devout athiest for many years, he went to College with JRR Tolkein and was one of his closest friends..it was through many discussions, over many years, on the subject of religion with Tolkien and others while they were students and professors at Oxford that led Lewis to eventually become a devout Christian..after being an unshakable athiest as a younger man!)
So..the BBC asked Lewis to do a series of radio talks to the British public during WWII on the subject of Christianity, to try to explain basic faith to the war-weary public.
Those radio talks are gathered together to make up the book "Mere Christianity"
Lewis has several interesting theorys on WHY Christianity must be real, based only on human nature..going back to a very primal level. He starts it all out very simply, basically giving a simple theory that proves the existance of God!
its very convincing..I cant find anything to dispute it.
then he goes on to more and more complicated matters..but all the while still using the tone of someone talking to a skeptic..
A quote on the back of the book says
"C.S. Lewis is the ideal persuader for the half-convinced, for the good man who would like to be a Christian but finds his intellect getting in the way."
that was SO me!!
I kept convincing myself I was too smart to believe in all that nonsense!
but the more I read and learn, and I have been going to church, the more sense it is all making..
im changing, and im liking it! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img]
I can STILL believe in evolution over Creationism..because I can believe that God created life and evolution is his method for letting it change..
I dont have to believe the entire bible is literal fact.
and im fine with that.
some people (Christians) will say I CANT believe that!
but they are just humans..im not required to believe exactly what they believe. everyone has their own unique concept of God, their own unique relationship with God that is unlike anyone else's.. So if my "overall idea" of Christianity doesnt agree with someone else's 100%, then so be it..
the minor details are different among the Christian sects, the main idea is the same.
im not bothering with minor details right now..im just trying to get my mind around the big picture..
the important thing is just trying to get to know God..another thing Lewis says is "if this analogy doesnt work for you, discard it"
go with what makes sense to you..
and another big bonus of that idea for me is I dont HAVE to be like the extreme "religious right" wackos!
I cant stand them..the people who kill abortion doctors "in the name of God"..
or the people who think THEIR persoal moral beliefs should be LAWS that everyone has to accept..grrrrrr..
(im very strongly pro-gay rights, something a "Christian isnt supposed to believe in"..yeah right..since when is Jesus a big fan of opression?
for years I disliked ALL of Christianity because of those kinds of extremists..
well, I discovered most Christians are not those people at all!
(just like the ideas of the 911 terrorists dont even remotely represent the truth about Islam.)
So that was a big help to me..I can ignore certain "Christians" if I choose!! its ok to think they are wacked!
I CAN be a Christian, have a real relationship with God, and I dont HAVE to agree with all those humans!
woo hoo! [img]http://www.**********.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/new/smile.gif[/img]
that was quite a lightning-bolt for me..freed up my mind a lot.
I would HIGHLY recommend "Mere Christianity" to anyone..
its the first book that has really helped me make sense of religion..
I feel like I hit the "pause" button at age 5 in Sunday school, skipped 30 years, and am just now "starting" again..
im just starting to learn..
and "starting to believe" is MUCH more intellectually challenging than NOT believing in religion was!
I think there is FAR more to learn over on this side..