It was very frustrating because i had so many questions. If i opened up to my family or to people at school, i immediately met their anger. They, for some reason, were determined not to ask themselves these questions. I on the other hand couldn't get them out of my mind.
I was told there was something wrong with the way i though, evil in fact. I was cautioned and advised but never answered and as my frustration grew i knew (and this because i had heard the story many times before) that despite all my religious perseverance and retaliation that i was bound to one day completely leave the faith.
There is something about being taught that your thinking is 'evil' that should send up a warning sign in your mind. When one side of an argument can't win the logical battle, the only thing they have left is to demonize the other side. Remember, they couldn't answer you. They couldn't answer you.
While in college i entered that phase many of you probably know where you begin to openly challenge God. It begins in jest at first: snide remarks about prayer, faith, Christians, anything i felt might get me in trouble with his royal highness. Slowly however it got more serious. I went on this sort of crazed power-rush with it and in time my life had turned into this barefaced moral disregard for God as anything more than an idea or a guideline for human living. The very mention of God could set me off, i didn't care. The religious indoctrination had collapsed and i was loving the freedom.
Actually, it wasn't a crazed power rush... it was your first taste of freedom.
What happened next is that i met what some men call 'the uncommon Christian'. A roommate in my fourth year i wont mention his name. He was very interested by my ideas and my views on life. His of course were very different from mine and so we hardly ever agreed on anything. The point though was that he listened, he reasoned and he rebutted. He found my ideas fascinating and listened much in the way that one listens to a child. At first of course i found this extremely frustrating. This was my life, my doctrine after all; they were the questions that had made me what i was and yet sometimes he would just laugh and shake his head. Others had refused my questions because it shook their beliefs, but that never bothered him.
He didn't shrug them off either; I would watch him handle the statements, reason through them carefully, and yet even when he had no answers you would never see the slightest hint of doubt in him. This may not be so amazing to you but to someone who had lived his entire life filled with questions and doubts, i can looking back understand why i was so drawn to him.
That's called confidence (or maybe arrogance), and has no bearing on whether or not he's right about God. Don't you think we have confidence as well? You took his attitude for wisdom. Maybe that was wrong of you to do. A great quote here is one from Bertrand Russell... "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."
Imagine your roomate did the same thing every day, only with the belief in Santa Claus instead of God. Every day, he comes over and asks you about your life without Santa and how you see the world as an a-Santa-ist. Then, when you talk with him, he listens, fascinated and curious, childlike even, but always rebutting you with unprovable assertions that never really answered your questions. Every so often, he'd laugh and shake his head, but nothing you said could ever get through to him. You'd be frustrated as hell, because you know he's wrong, but he's real confident he's right. How could that not be exactly what you experienced with this guy? It doesn't matter how confident one is in their position. It matters whether or not they have the logically superior position. Atheism is a logically superior position than Christianity. By a long shot.
Don't mistake confidence or arrogance for superior knowledge.
One time a bunch of us followed him out somewhere and something happened then that completely changed my life. It was as if i all of a sudden had this revelation of who i was standing next to.
When i went to sleep that night i knew i was a believer but i still didn't know what faith was. Back then i thought i believed because of the experience i had but with time, even when i began to doubt the experience, i still never doubted God. It was as if the belief had all of a sudden been grafted into my DNA.
Notice how it's always some sort of experience? You didn't come to God through reasoning and evidence; you came to it through an emotional experience of some kind. Your emotions are NOT a good barometer for truth, however.
It sounds to me like you had a bit of hero worship going on because he seemed so sure in what he thinks. Maybe you wanted to be sure like he was. Again, none of that has any bearing at all on what's true. You can't arrive at truth through emotional experiences. That's not the way to get there.
I still have questions and i still have doubts, but despite everything i seem sure, you could say inside myself, that God is.
Maybe because you want to believe it? To be like your roommate who seems so secure? Trust me... beyond any reasonable doubt, God is not real. The Christian God is mythology. You're roommate, for all his confidence, really could be (and is) wrong.
Sometimes i tell myself that i shouldn't be so sure, i lay down for hours considering all my doubts and reasoning how there are so many conflicting religions with no evidence. Sometimes i reason that Atheism of neutrality is the only bright choice, but once i get up and take a few steps, my thoughts float, carrying only so much weight as a brilliantly conceived fiction.
Agnostic atheism, to me, is the only smart choice to make. I don't know if god exists, but I don't believe it does. Not for a second. There is no reason to think so, even if there are others who are wholly confident that God is real.
I've heard alot of the arguments, when i look at my mind and consider how i think it seems like i should be joining the Atheist camp but I'm just not. Can anyone relate to this or explain this in a way that is rational?
When your reasoning takes center stage, God will die. Right now, it seems you're caught up in that hero worship. This is how cult leaders like David Koresh and Jim Jones and L. Ron Hubbard work their magic. People fall into those cults for a reason. The same reason you were so impacted by your roommate. You probably would have followed him anywhere if he asked you. But he's wrong, Blue. God isn't real. Think it through. Use your reason instead of your gut. What does your reason tell you? Your gut is often wrong when it comes to true versus false.
If you haven't read "Misquoting Jesus" or "Jesus Interrupted" by Bart Ehrman, I think you should. Not because of what they say about the bible (which is extremely enlightening in itself) but because at the beginning of both books, he talks about a situation exactly like yours that got him into Christianity deeply. A very charismatic person in his life made him see things a certain way and he became a 'born again' Christian. He came out of it, and you can too. You just have to think intelligently instead of with your emotions.