by Brian Hearn
My worldview has seen considerable change. I grew up in a secular home with unbelieving family members. I hung around mostly irreligious friends. I almost never went to church. Raised in a single parent family, my grandparents were prominent role models. My grandmother loved to play chess and I have many fond memories of our time together. My grandfather was a staunch pragmatist who introduced me to science on Christmas day at the age of ten. From that day forward, it was a primary indoor pursuit. There were no adult role models for the world outside. Those adventures were always unsupervised. As a young adult I had my last conversation with my grandfather at a St. Petersburg, Florida diner. He emphasized that morning the importance of being practical and taking charge of one’s future. Sadly, he died not long afterward from cancer, having never discussed with me anything beyond the day-to-day. But I could not have agreed with him more at the time about the value of practicality and expediency. It was upon this foundation my worldview was built.
During my childhood I was also introduced to Christianity. I don’t recall the details, but I joined my best friend for a few Sunday morning services. It’s no surprise to anyone a handful of hours in church do not stack up against years of secular pursuits and influences. By the time I reached my mid-twenties, I had shed most of my openness to anything supernatural. In my late twenties I was firmly nontheistic. I was never an activist who promoted atheism. I didn’t go around claiming God’s nonexistence. This may be due to doubting the rationality of such an unsubstantiated position. I was more of a condescending weak-atheist. If asked to summarize my position, I would say: God probably doesn’t exist, but whatever works for you makes little difference to me. Though I could describe the Christian Gospel in theory, I believed it was a harmless delusion in reality.
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I did not expect the extreme worldview makeover on my horizon. I thought things were going exceedingly well. My career in software development was taking off. I met my wife and married her at the age of twenty-eight. We had just built a new house together. Surely this was what my grandfather meant by “being in charge.” No question as to what I believed at the time, I was the master of my fate; I was the captain of my soul. So when I began to have troubles in marriage, I did not view it much differently than running up against a defect in software – I just needed to fix things and move on. With enough skill, intellect and effort, I thought I could face any problem and solve it. But it did not turn out that way. I reached a point at the age of thirty-one when I knew my marriage was terminal. I could not undo the damage. I believed divorce was inevitable and this change in perspective opened the door to a wider view.
My rebirth happened one night as I was contemplating the sale of our home after my wife had moved out. A Florida thunderstorm rolled in that evening…
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