...or so I was told by the Southern Baptist preacher in Ruston, Louisiana just outside of Louisiana Tech. The year was 1997 and I was 31 yrs old. My wife was 27 and we had been married 2 years or so. We had a child who was about 3 (yeah, yeah haha) and we were both enrolled at La Tech as Engineering majors. I had been raised Catholic, and my wife, well she was raised Apostolic/Catholic. We had been going to church off and on, and we both made an effort to believe and we both considered ourselves to be "Christian" and people of faith. If you asked us about Jesus you'd probably hear something about "personal lord and savior" - you know the deal.

So we're going to Emmanuel Baptist church because they have the best daycare in town and members always get first priority. I figured god would understand my choosing a church based on the best daycare. I soon found that these people were LITERAL Bible believers, and while one side of my brain was being bombarded with logic (over in the engineering department), the other side was having trouble accepting the message it was being fed. The message was that, "Unless you accept Jesus you will burn in everlasting hellfire, period." - I asked about an innocent child who was born on a deserted island and never was exposed to the Bible... certainly a loving God would not burn THAT child in hell, right? WRONG! There is no excuse for not accepting Jesus, and that child would burn forever. So this is where I realized there's just no way I can accept what I was being taught. I was active in the Sunday School group, I was playing & singing songs during services, I was helping the youth group & their band, I was really pretty active in this church.... but after this lesson about God burning innocent kids in hellfire, I was turned off, so I quit going to church every Sunday. The people used to ask my wife, "Where is David?" and she grew tired of it. We're talking about a WHITE southern church, and my wife is NOT white (She's native american/hispanic) and she felt that without me by her side she was not nearly as accepted by the church.

Meanwhile I'm back at home pondering how God could burn a child in hell simply because nobody showed him a Bible.... then I realized that all of Christianity was based on what you believe, but why would God judge me based on what I accept as true or untrue? How is that logical? And would God have to be more logical than man? So if I find something clearly illogical in a theology wouldn't that make it incorrect? I began thinking about the thousands of religions out there, and how each person believes theirs to be correct - but they cannot all be correct at the same time. So basically MOST PEOPLE will burn forever in eternal hell. It became easier and easier for me to dismiss this idea.

IT was at this time that I discovered a chat program called "Paltalk" and the atheist community who often participated in real time voice-chatting debates. I was still a god-believer, but I was over Christianity. My god-belief rested on the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and the fact that Entropy (disorder) was always increasing. The order we see on Earth is evidence (proof) of some order-maker I called "god". I decided to visit this "atheist chat room" and show these non-believers the proof of a creator. Certainly none of them could match my engineering education, and I would astound and amaze them all with my knowledge and understanding of science and the world around me.

Needless to say that didn't work out too well. I had my 2nd law argument rammed right down my throat with a single question, "what is your closed system?" (Darn! that's right! The 2nd law is only valid in a closed system where no matter or energy can enter or leave the system! Without a closed system the 2nd law CANNOT BE APPLIED) - It was as if a light went on inside my head. "Could these atheists be right?"

But there were still many unanswered questions, and there was still the problem of my wife. Over the next week or so I realized I too was "atheist" and just didn't believe this "god stuff" anymore. I was 100% sure I had finally found the truth! After all that searching and wondering. It was not the truth I wanted to find, or went in search of, but this was only MORE proof that truth I found was the real one. It was NOT wishfull thinking or anything like that because I still wanted everlasting life. Hey, I love life!!

I broke the news to my wife, and she didn't take it too well. She was not open to discussing the topic at all, and continued to attend church services for many months. Anytime I tried to bring up a discussion on faith or belief she would resist and put fault on me for bringing it up. She was still taking our child to church as well. It was at this time that she became pregnant with our 2nd child.

Our oldest was 4 now, and I was struggling with the question, "Do I tell my daughter?" who was being completely brainwashed into Christianity. One day I got up the nerve. I started by telling her adults make up fun fairytales. We like to pretend to believe in them but it's all just for fun, like the tooth fairy - a fun fairytale but not real. "I knew it!", she exclaimed. "What about Santa?" was her next question. I told her, yep, Santa too - "I knew it!" was her response. She was taking this better than I expected. Next came the big one... "Oh, and god is an adult fairytale that many people NEVER outgrow." Her forhead wrinkled and I saw the wheels turning inside that little head, "But if there's no god, then how did we get here?" - good question I told her, "I don't know, but if things need to 'get here' then the real question would be "how did god get here". - that was pretty much all she needed - it was all over - there lay her faith in a smoking pile of debris.

Now my wife was not happy at all. But I had created a situation that, over time, would result in HER being the outsider instead of me. I would wait a month or two, then bring up the debate again. A year went by. (remember I was having daily debates on Paltalk so she overheard many of my statements and refutations of religion/god) One day I brought up the topic again. This time things were different. My wife finally agreed to have the conversation. I focused on a single concept, "Why would the creator of the universe condemn you because you don't believe a book written by man about a man who claimed to be god?" - and "Why is god hiding if he wants your belief? Would he not give you some unmistakeable sign if he was really there?" My wife was in fear for her eternal soul, but the logic center of her brain was telling her I was right. She was so scared that she could only bring herself to write it on a slip of paper. "I don't believe in God." it said.

I hung it on the wall above my computer. Victory was mine.

We've been married 15 yrs now. She is a chem-E professor at a top university. My kids are both atheist, and we're all happy people. We look back on who we once were and can only chuckle.

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Great story :) If only I could convince my sister...

(sister because I'm 15 and obviously don't have a wife yet :P )
What a great story. Indeed, I sometimes wish my parents had given me an upbringing free from religious overtones. I'm not married, but any guy I date knows by at least the 2nd date (sometimes 1st if religion comes up that soon) that I'm a heathen. It separates out the riffraff who can't deal:)

Hehe, I went to Tulane for graduate school (this wasn't until 2001 or so though). New Orleans is a little different than any other Louisianan city though, I must say...

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