I grew up in a Roman Catholic family that attended church regularly, and although I never once doubted God’s existence, I never gained a true understanding of the Bible or Catholic doctrine either.
In high school, a severe storm knocked out our power for almost a week, and in my boredom I decided to start reading the Bible. I wish I could tell you that I experienced a profound spiritual awakening, but I wasn’t approaching the text with the proper attitude. In fact, the only thing that stood out to me was the list of dietary restrictions in Leviticus 11.
One time, the priest visited our youth group for a Q&A session. Since we had recently been studying evolution in biology class, I asked him, “How can we reconcile the six days of creation as described in Genesis 1 with the Big Bang Theory and evolution?” His response was that some things in the Bible are just a good story, and we shouldn’t take them literally. That answer didn’t satisfy me at all, because I started wondering what else in the Bible was just a good story. Although this experience didn’t make an atheist out of me, it certainly did a lot to undermine my faith in the Bible.
When I left for college, I stopped going to church and focused instead on getting drunk every weekend. However, I never lost my belief in God, and I always figured that I’d start going back to church once I graduated and got married.
One year, some friends and I were vacationing at the beach for Spring Break when we were approached by students with Campus Crusade. They asked about our religious backgrounds, and I told them that I was a Catholic. They asked me how was I going to get into Heaven, and I explained that since I hadn’t committed any major sins like rape or murder, and since I generally tried to be a nice person that God would let me into Heaven. They tried to explain that I needed to be forgiven through the shed blood of Jesus, but I was too self-righteous to admit my need for a Savior.
Not long after graduation, I met a group of born-again Christians through a multi-level marketing business, and I immediately noticed that their their lives were marked by genuine peace, joy, and purpose. At a weekend leadership conference, they invited me to join them at a non-denominational Christian worship service, and it was there that I heard a clear Gospel presentation for the first time in my life.
I have been a born-again Christian since that day, and I hope to continue sharing the good news of the Gospel with others for the rest of my life. I would love to hear about your faith journey as well, so please send me your story.