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Saturday, July 14, 2007                                                                                       View Comments

Seeking an answer to a question

Sent in by Jim

Before I ask my question, I want to provide a brief overview of my religious background--a mini-testimonial. My Mother was a very religious person (Southern Baptist) who dedicated me to God at birth, bred me for the ministry, read to me from the Bible every evening, required me to say my prayers with her every evening, and she took me to our church for every single event which occurred there: weekly prayer meetings; Sunday morning and evening Bible study and services; Bible Study classes during special weeks during the year; revival services; Vacation Bible School; etc.

I attended the Baptist college in my state as a ministerial student, majoring in philosophy with a minor in religious studies. After graduation from college, I attended seminary and earned my B.D. degree. During my first year in seminary, mymother died, and as a result of that, I was able for the first time in my life to begin to "decide" what I really wanted to do with my life.

During the second year of my three-year seminary program, I began to have lots of doubts and misgivings about many of the Christian beliefs and doctrines which I had grown up believing. Consequently, I came to believe that I should abandon the ministry to pursue a teaching career in philosophy.

I attended graduate school to pursue my Ph.D. in philosophy, completed that program, and sought and obtained a full-time teaching position at a college as a philosophy professor. At that point, I left organized religion, rejected Christianity, and I am now an agnostic.

My Question:

I very much need any good responses anyone can give me in order to reply to a close friend who charges that I abandoned Christianity and became an agnostic because of my very religious upbringing, during which the religious views I held had been pretty much predetermined by my Mother's influence over me. In short, my friend claims that I abandoned Christianity and became an agnostic because "religion had been forced upon me by my Mother."

I have tried to identify the fallacious reasoning used by my friend and have found some answers. But my friend's claim is primarily a psychoanalytical claim, a claim about personal reaction to my past.

Any help would be appreciated.


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