I would have been about 6 years old, so into my second year at boarding school. I can’t specifically remember when or where, but it was while away at school. I think it was while in bed one evening waiting for sleep to come.
I prayed the prayer we’d all been taught to pray about asking God to come into our heart and about being sorry for all my sins. What followed was a tingling sensation and a feeling of euphoria. That’s about the best I can remember it, given it was so long ago.
Of course there was to be lots of bible study and instruction on how to lead a life as a good Christian. Much of the stuff is easily transferable as instruction on how to live as a decent person, stuff that is so ingrained into me as a person that I can’t see how I could live without those values. Though to be honest, I don’t see why I would want to live without those values; after all, if everyone followed those values, the world would be a much more enjoyable place to be.
How do I view my child conversion through the eyes of an adult atheist?
Its not so easy to answer to be honest.
Certainly I have to acknowledge that it was the result of indoctrination, in the sense that there was no escape from the message Christianity. The prayer of a child to an unseen God was a prayer that was encouraged regularly. The feelings of euphoria post conversion and the other sensations were expected because I had been told to expect them and I knew others at the time who had already experienced the same. In later years, as a teen, I would discuss the same experience with others who confirmed the same feelings post conversion.
Not having any psychological qualification I can’t really comment with authority, but I strongly suspect that my young mind was easily suggestible and since a child of that age tends not to question anything an adult tells them, my mind simply followed the script already given it and so the conversion process panned out on cue.
Could there be another explanation?
I’d be interested in a psychologists take on the body’s response to this conversion experience, because while I can’t fully explain it. I am sure there ought to be an explanation that describes it though it would be hard to scientifically monitor someone going through a conversion process due to there being too many emotional variables. The whole point of the conversion process being a very private event between a believer and God would make it hard to monitor in any way that’s not intrusive to some level.
Do I regret my Conversion?
No I don’t regret it, its made me what I am and there is no changing that. Yes its sent me on an intellectual dead end with regards to denying evolution, but that’s not Christianity per se, more the quality of belief I was led into. Much more on the creationism doctrine to come in a later post as that really didn’t emerge until my 20s.
I certainly hold no ill will towards my parents or those teachers for sending me on that path in life. That would be pointless, that’s my background, that’s what made me. Yes with hindsight it would be nice to have not had that distraction for all those years. However, the bottom line is my life would have been very different without the influence of Christianity and to wish it hadn’t happened would be to also wish the many wonderful experiences that I treasure out of existence too. So I accept that its been a part of my life for a long time, Christianity has brought far more positive influences than negative, so on the whole there is little point in wishing it away, better to make more of a positive impact with the life I have left than harp on about when could have been had it been different.