I’ve spent the past week or so knee-deep in a very interesting dialog about “deconversion” that was spurred when a posting on this blog titled “Atheism Sells” caught the attention of the folks at de-conversion.com. I’ve enjoyed learning a little more about this community of people and their journeys toward and away from God. It has also make me think a lot about my own conversion experience and what it would be like to lose my faith.
As I pondered this, I found myself in touch with author Dave Schmelzer on another matter. Dave, a self-descibed former-atheist, is now a pastor in Boston. He wrote a book called “Not the Religious Type: Confessions of a Turncoat Atheist” and is hosting a conference in Boston in a couple of weeks that is intended to discuss the place where “faith and culture meet.” I sent him a note about this conversation and he promptly shared the information on his blog which has brought a number of new people into the conversation.
You just gotta love the Internet.
I know that notions of conversion and “de-conversion” (I’m still not sure whether or not that is a word) lead to deep theological questions that could spur a lively (and possibly contentious) debate about scripture and history. There is a place for that kind of wrestling in any spiritual journey and many outlets for that kind of conversation on other blogs and websites, but I would like to focus on a different aspect of the conversation here if anyone is game.
I have come to view my conversion from agnostisicm to Christianity (I believed in and prayed to a “power greater than myself”) as a change of heart rather than a shift in intellectual understanding. As a result of that change of heart, I have pursued and continue to pursue a deeper understanding of God (Father, Son and Holy Ghost) through scripture and the spiritual disciplines of prayer, fasting, silence and, in many cases, sheer perseverance and endurance as my life has radically and rather counterculturally shifted from one orientation to another.
The Bible has much to say about the heart–guarding it, hardening it, softening it, etc. I am interested in learning about others’ experience of the heart as it relates to their coming to (and leaving) their faith. Hope to hear from you.